Will you defend "moderately competent with a strong network"?

Quotas for women on boards are problematic. But not as problematic as the consequences of not introducing them.

That is how I - without any enthusiasm - have come to see it.

"Well, Eva, shouldn't boards be made up of the best qualified - regardless of gender?"

Well, in the perfect world; the world where all board members are elected for their suitability.

But the world has never been like that, the world is not like that now, and, realistically, the world will never be that way.

I myself have been involved with boards where all members were fully competent. So I know that such boards exist - also in the form of 'all-male' boards.

Nevertheless, I would say without hesitation that "moderately competent with a strong network" is a fair description of some board members.

An imperfect reality
The reality is NOT that boards are composed of the exact people who are best suited for the job. Because while you may find many exceptionally talented people in boardrooms, the importance of networking, and particularly of networking among men, is often crucial.

If we defend the right of men to keep their share of board positions because each man has earned his place based on professional merits, we are defending the status quo on false premises.

So... what can we do better - if not exactly well?

A temporary quota system can help ensure that exceptionally talented (or, ironically, moderately competent) women can eventually become an integral part of male board networks - or build their own.

Granted, this will not solve the general problem: that network connectivity all too often trumps skill.

But it will - perhaps - put women on an equal footing with their male counterparts.

Are you in favour of quotas?

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Eva Fischer Hansen

Eva Fischer Hansen

Her deep insight, yet practical advice, brings new hope and renewal to those working for family- or founder-owned businesses

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