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Women quotas in corporate causing more harm than good?

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Women’s Reservation is the most heavily debated method that countries are toying with in order to bring their women to the fore, and yet another case study has presented itself that presents an argument against it. This report by the Washington Post, analyzes the quota system in employed by corporate in their top level management, and its outcomes.

 

Germany was the most recent example that decided to find out for themselves, the answer to this debate.  The German cabinet last week imposed a quota for women on big companies’ boards. This was invoked by the irksome statistic that prevails in the country station that women comprise 46 percent of the labor force but hold just 15 percent of supervisory-board seats at Germany’s 200 biggest companies. Among the other countries that have similar policies are Norway, France, Spain, Italy and Netherlands.

 

The thought behind the quota is not ill-intentioned, for it is to finally utilize the valuable human capital held captive by the underutilized fairer sex. And to back this up, various studies have also shown the accelerated rates of success exhibited by companies that have shared their highest echelons with women.  Besides stimulating debate rich with diverse perspectives, it also speaks well of the company’s progressive outlook.

 

Having women on top was to improve the career and pay prospects of women further down the line. Yet, far from having a trickle-down effect to other high-achieving women, or to their marital, fertility ad career plans, Norway’s system is in fact causing women to be perceived as unqualified, unwanted diversity hires.

 

[Picture Credits: Naaree.com]

 

Quotas are being attributed as a major chunk of the reasons why a company may not be faring well, as they “lead to young, unskilled and inexperienced members in the team.” It is a vicious cycle though, as the only reason why the women are lesser qualified than their male counterparts is because they drop out of their jobs instead of staying in the running to collect that said experience and those said skills. Again, due to lack of empathy and hence, lack of conducive policies to accommodate their other responsibilities.

 

These very institutional protections and their extreme nature have also been a major setback for women. While in the United States, lack of mandates for providing paid maternity leave causes women to leave their jobs altogether; in European countries, too much emphasis given to the maternal responsibilities of women by ghetto-izing them into part-time, non-managerial pink-collar jobs. The German society outright degrades the image of mothers who choose to raise their children using third  party help, and grants various forms of leave to  a woman until her child’s third birthday. All these steadfastly push women out of the managerial scene.

 

Maybe mandating a quota is not the answer, what needs to be addressed are the internal conflicts regarding gender  relations, sensitization, and modifying the institutional mechanisms at play that make the corporate environment more convivial for women to come forth and participate. Changes in internal policies may prove to be a bigger boon to the mental health of the company, as opposed to the resentment built over quotas.

 

ORIGINAL SOURCE: The Washington Post

 

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