California and some European countries have imposed gender quotas on corporations, requiring they have a certain number of female board members.
Other states are weighing similar laws.
These gender quotas are intended to help more women succeed, but they ultimately hurt more than help.
Gender quotas signal that women cannot reach high-level leadership positions without special treatment.
And they sustain the lie that sexism is the primary driver of disparities in workplace outcomes.
Gender quotas create an image of “token women” on boards instead of allowing women to achieve their own success.
And these requirements for corporate boards do nothing to make workplaces more women-friendly overall.
And studies show that quotas aren’t helping businesses overall, and they may hurt performance.
That’s bad for workers and customers.
Boardrooms are predominantly male because for years, men dominated the business world.
That’s changing: As women gain experience and expertise, they are reaching boardrooms on their own, without a quota.
But also, many women make career choices that provide greater flexibility or irregular schedules, instead of climbing the corporate ladder.
We should celebrate those choices and work to ensure equal opportunities, not equal outcomes.
Gender quotas, while well intentioned, will do more harm than good.