Can Quotas Create Gender Diversity? Not Quite.

Using numbers to set targets and measure achievement is the generally accepted practice in many areas of business. But does setting numerical quotas to improve gender diversity on corporate boards serve that purpose? Not necessarily, argues Kiersten Barnet, in a Fast Company article, “Why Quotas Alone Won’t Make Boards (or Companies) More Diverse.” Barnet is steering committee chair of the U.S. 30% Club, a group of business leaders committed to better gender balance through voluntary actions. She argues that through collective, voluntary actions, members have moved the needle in their own boardrooms at a pace far exceeding that of the S&P 500.  The crucial factor, says Barnet, is leadership that buys into the program--numbers alone don't tell the story.

John Howell, Editorial Director