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Why I don’t believe in quotas for women in business

October 23, 2011

I was reading an article in The Globe and Mail on the weekend by Leah Eichler, who I think is awesome.  It was a thought-provoking article about having quotas for women on Boards. But, when I hear about quotas for women in the work place, it is like someone takes their nails and drags them along a chalkboard. I hate this. I hate that we are even still part of a world that needs to think about such concepts to ensure more women are included in senior positions.

But I also think there is a better way than quotas to ensure a more diverse senior management team and Board. To me, quotas are like band aids in this situation. They are fixing the immediate problem but in my opinion, they are actually not doing much for the long-term issue. It is like when you were a child with friends over and then were told by your Mom that you have to take your little brother along to the park. Everyone’s a little resentful he’s there. He is not feeling the most comfortable about it but goes along because he really wants to be there. And chances are he will come home crying, with hurt feelings because the older kids did something mean to upset him, despite Mom’s best efforts for ‘everyone to play nice in the sandbox.’

At work, it is kind of the same. You can put quotas in place to try to MAKE everyone ‘play together nice in the sandbox,’ but I think the real problem needs to be addressed which actually lies a lot deeper both within the women and also some of the men in top positions.

In the work I do with companies on this issue and also women leaders  in my Women in Leadership program, I am seeing there is a common theme with many of these women facing up to some of their own fears first in order to put themselves in the position of senior leaders. And then there is the other side of the coin which is some old school males just aren’t open to women on boards. And there are solutions for those men too…but that would be a whole other blog in itself so I won’t go there today!

Take a read of the article in The Globe and Mail and I’d love to hear your thoughts on quotas for women on Boards.

Quotas would get more women into the board room

leah eichler

There is a way to ensure that more women secure senior roles on corporate boards, but you won’t like it. I’m talking about quotas.

Dropping the Q-word sends many professionals, men and women alike, back to their corner offices in a huff. Like a bad-tasting medicine, however, the threat of treatment may instigate radical change. Read more…

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