Alternative to quotas
So quotas aside, what other options are there? Well, one possibility is to introduce targets, rather than quotas. Most companies have sales targets, so why don’t we have targets related to diversity? This gives organisations something to aim for and puts some pressure on them to boost gender equality, without enforcing strict quotas. Longer term targets would also aim to encourage companies to develop female talent from the beginning of their career so that they can reach top level positions in future. Short-term targets may prevent this from happening as the effects would need to be more immediate.
As well as some kind of target, there also needs to be more education within organisations about the business case for diversity. There is evidence that shows having more women at board level has a positive effect on the bottom line, as well as bringing more ideas to the table. The CEO may be really bought into the idea but this attitude needs to filter down to middle management who must understand the real benefits that having a more diverse team can bring. If the managers on the ‘front line’ aren’t convinced of the benefits, the pledge for diversity will remain on paper, but not take place in practice.