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Thread: Gender quotas

  1. #1
    FigerPuppet
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    Default Gender quotas

    Norway has loads of them and EU politicians are rambling about instituting them (women quotas targeted at company boards specifically) across the entire Union.

    What do you think of the idea of gender quotas in the boardrooms?
    First of all, is there even a problem? What do you have to back it up, other than assumptions based on raw hiring numbers? Assuming there is a problem, are quotas the right way to solve it?
    Are women - on average - as capable as men when it comes to the positions in question? Not just capable in terms of ability, but also in terms of willingness to sacrifice family life for corporate life.

  2. #2
    Member Ethanescence's Avatar
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    No, I don't believe in gender quotas. Because in workplaces where women are already accepted and valued for their contribution on the same level as men, it won't make a difference.

    In workplaces that don't value this, they'll be seen as "quota fillers" rather than individuals with valid contributions.

    I think there should be a strong framework of anti-discrimination practices in hiring and promotions. If the people who determine whether someone is hired and whether someone is promoted are ensured to be fair and not sexist, it would solve many existing problems.

    Maybe this can be done by independent sources who choose who to hire/promote based on legitimate criteria that is predetermined by the company, and who aren't pressured by cultural bias or stigma that exists within the company itself?

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    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    Norway has loads of them and EU politicians are rambling about instituting them (women quotas targeted at company boards specifically) across the entire Union.
    What do you think of the idea of gender quotas in the boardrooms?
    First of all, is there even a problem? What do you have to back it up, other than assumptions based on raw hiring numbers? Assuming there is a problem, are quotas the right way to solve it?
    Are women - on average - as capable as men when it comes to the positions in question? Not just capable in terms of ability, but also in terms of willingness to sacrifice family life for corporate life.
    I think they're ridiculous
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    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    We have laws against discrimination. That should be enough.

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    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Generally, I consider them a temporary solution to a problem rooted in social expectations. Like a patch, so to speak.
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

  6. #6
    figsfiggyfigs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethanescence View Post
    they'll be seen as "quota fillers" rather than individuals with valid contributions.
    ^boils down to this.

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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    Generally, I consider them a temporary solution to a problem rooted in social expectations. Like a patch, so to speak.
    Yeah, but that's how any major social change starts. Look at things like the constitution proclaiming all me to be equal. Did it happen? No, but in my opinion modern society is a lot more open because of it and those are just words with no legal force.

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    I don't know if it should be policy, but there should be some sort of pressure. I mean, you don't just go around saying "more women need to be represented in X male-dominated positions" and hoping that it'll happen. It either needs to happen by implementing quotas as a matter of law or individual institutional policy, or by having some body of people (activists or advisory boards or whatever) making a big enough fuss about it until the issue is dealt with in a satisfactory way. The former has the benefit of being direct, but it sets up high potential for backlash like others have mentioned (then again, when it comes to any women's issue, there seems to always be backlash no matter what.) The latter sidesteps the "you're just an affirmative action hire, don't you suck" problem, but has the potential to be completely ineffective or simply too slow.

    Of course, that's assuming you agree that having equal representation by women in most male-dominated fields is something we should strive towards...
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    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Few individuals want to be "the quota woman/black/x" even though quota regulations might be to their benefit. This reminds me of this article I recently read about top-down intervention vs bottom-up evolution.

    As for the situation in my country:

    Germany Headed for Corporate Gender Quotas

    Germany is seriously considering the imposition of corporate gender quotas, with Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen saying that she’s “completely convinced” German corporations will never reach gender parity unless legally forced to do so.

    According to the Atlantic, Social Democrat Andrea Nahles has also come out in favor of quota laws, while a “working draft” of what regulations might look like is said to be knocking around the Family Ministry. The Atlantic quite correctly notes that quotas are unthinkable in the United States where the Supreme Court has found them to be unconstitutional in public universities seeking a diverse student body.

    And Germany is more women-deficient that the U.S. Our female corporate leadership hovers around 15% while Germany’s DAX companies log in at a shameful 3.7%.

    Still, Europe is fast outpacing the U.S. in the representation of women on its Boards of Directors, with one out of four board members in Sweden and Finland being female and France clocking in at 40% after the French National Assembly passed a law imposing gender diversity quotas. (see U.K. report Getting the Right Women on Board).

    Quotas Would Not Replace Qualified Men with Unqualified Women

    I’m surprised to hear the Atlantic opine that quotas would result in qualified men being turned away only to be replaced by women, whether they are qualified or not.
    You’d think there was a study out there somewhere saying there are only X number of qualified women but an unlimited number of qualified men to fill the ranks.

    The movement is gaining steam in Europe because qualified women are being overlooked at a time when the state of the world’s business and financial affairs suggests that there are more than a few unqualified men presently at the wheel. All of the available research and the lived experience of American corporate life demonstrates that when companies put at least three women on Board, their their presence immediately and significantly improves profitability (countering group-think, among other reasons). You build a better mousetrap and the vested interests say “no thanks, we’re comfortable just the way we are.”

    The idea that white male-dominated institutions are the natural order of things and the entry of the talented but marginalized would destroy the purported meritocracy of western business interests is simply a means of protecting a system that operates more on good old boy contacts than proven ability (never forget what a “heckuva job” Brownie did when Katrina struck).

    In all events, the U.S. and Great Britain will make a great control group for the Finnish, Swedish and French experiment in the bottom line benefits to be derived from including women on Boards. We’ll keep you up to date on all of these developments going forward.

    In the meantime, don’t wait for legislation to move on up. There are plenty of private initiatives to assist women getting on board and corporations in finding them. See, for example 2020 Women on Boards, a grassroots campaign to increase the percentage of women who serve on U.S. corporate boards of directors to 20% or greater by the year 2020 and Women 2.0 for female founders and women-led start-ups.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegot...nder-quotas/2/

    Oh, and we have one of the largest wage disparities in the EU:

    EU Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimir Spidla said on Monday that the 23-percent wage gap between men and women in Germany was significantly above the average 17.4-percent wage inequality in the 27-member bloc.

    "That continues to put Germany among countries with the biggest gender wage inequalities," Spidla told newspaper Die Welt.

    He added that the latest figures show that the wage gap between men and women in Germany for 2007 had not changed significantly from the previous year.

    Only Austria, the Netherlands, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Estonia pay their female employees less, the commissioner said.
    http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,4050865,00.html
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Eckhart's Avatar
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    I am undecided about this matter.

    On the one hand I feel that they are bad for two reasons. First a quota for one gender will inevitably eventually discriminate the other gender at some points. Second I am not sure if all women would feel comfortable with that, I heard some arguments of women who were opposed to this. For example some said they don't want to be "numbered like cattle", and others don't want to feel in the position where they get a job not because of their own qualities but because of a quota (even if they might really have those qualities which gets or should get them the job, there is always some bad taste or insecurity about it).

    On the other hand, how if not with quotas can there be a change? Nothing will change without such regulations, and gender injustice is not a fantasy if you look at wage disparity etc. So I feel there is no other choice than that. However such things should be introduced with great care and continuously observed. The other gender, especially in education etc. (because here you can see already a shift where boys get neglected in comparison to girls I think), should not be forgotten and neglected though.

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