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Who’s afraid of the big bad quota?

Another article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald projects the fears of every (male) director of the board: that a quota may be introduced to improve the level of participation by women in leading our companies.  This time it’s Michael Pascoe talking about The board’s next fear: the female quota. We already know from the Women on Boards conference in September that David Gonski, Chairman of the ASX, is anti quotas and reflects the same sentiments as the “mystery chairman” in Pascoe’s article.  So now we’re told there are more just like him.  Surprise, surprise.

Given the strong anti-quota view, why are so few men willing to step forward and offer any suitable alternative?  Such as voluntary targets, mentoring and development programs for senior women or any other initiative that may help in getting more women onto boards.

As you know, I’m pro quotas.  I’m often asked why quotas are important – indeed why we even need more women on the boards of our top companies.  The same companies where our super funds are invested and where we spend our money as consumers.  As I’ve said repeatedly, we need women in key decision making roles in these organisations because the studies show the more diverse a board, the better the bottom line.  And the more innovative, when it comes to products and services and being a market leader.

Pascoe again puts forward all the usual rhetoric.  So the boys keep running scared.  Let them.  Those with the power will never voluntarily give it up, but quotas would show very quickly just how adequate our pool of female talent is here in Australia.


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