Don't Use Quota Systems To Enforce Equality

In response to this bit of news:
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday said it was currently working with banks to ensure that a certain percentage of the position of senior management and board members were reserved for women.
I wrote this:
I think it's wrong to use a quota system to try to enforce equality in management or any other field.

A quota system might almost make sense if we assume that the only reason we don't see an equal number of women in senior management is because evil men refuse to promote competent female managers, but that's not true. The fact is that women don't aspire for leadership the way men do, because they think that is not their role in life.  Most women think womanhood is about looking good and making babies so they tend to sacrifice their careers for family life.  If a man gets a good job in a different city, his wife will resign from her job to follow him. If a woman gets the same opportunity, her husband will not resign to support her. Then there's maternity leave. Little things like that add up over time.

Even when a woman is trying to move ahead in the corporate world, other women will try to pull her back by branding her as a NaughtyWoman or spreading rumors that she must have slept with the boss. The few women trying to get ahead tend to rely more on their looks and the cuteness factor instead of concentrating on substance and performance, and it works for them to a point, but not to the very top. As a result, in banking and many other industrial sectors of Nigeria, the best candidates for top management roles are unlikely to be women.

This is not to say women don't have the ability to be great leaders. The problem is that they are not encouraged to develop their leadership potentials, so most of them don't do so.  As a result, a quota system mandating that a particular percentage of senior managers must be women is going to result in a lower quality of leadership.  It's not fair that women are not allowed to develop their potentials, but it's also not fair to shareholders if you prevent banks from appointing the very best senior managers they can find regardless of whether such candidates are men or women. An insufficiently competent senior manager can ruin any company, so you want the very best, male or female.

Such "pro-women" policies will also encourage female managers aspiring for top positions to relax.  If I know I'm the only female manager in a company and the company is forced to appoint 3 senior female managers by law, then why should I improve my performance? If a woman is guaranteed a slot at the very top by virtue of her gender then why should she strive to be better than men? Currently, women at the top are respected because we know they must be very good to have gotten there, but once such policies are in place, that will no longer be the case. Do we want that?

I would like to see more women in senior management, but the best way to achieve that is by encouraging women to work harder and take their careers more seriously. It's by commending women more for working hard and being smart than for looking good. It's by not telling women that they are supposed to be "submissive".  It's by helping your wife at home or hiring domestic helpers so she can work harder at her job. It's by celebrating women who are good at what they do for being good at what they do, and not for their beauty. By treating the disease and not the symptom.
From Re: CBN To Reserve Bank Management & Board Seats For Women

4 comments :: Don't Use Quota Systems To Enforce Equality

  1. peace be with you brother! i see your good works every where and i need your help in creating a forum similar to the one you've got. i would like to have your contact to discuss more on this issue.
    Peace! ks.

  2. Great post Seun. I wish my brothers in Cameroon could get the true implication of this information.
    Ruby on Rails Developer

  3. Hi Seun, just stumbled on your blog and this is a nice post to sink my teeth in.

    I concur with a lot of points on your post, however, I think there is too much generalization and your viewpoint comes across a bit one-dimensional. My perception from being a woman and polling more of my kind on these type issues, is that, while women may not want to rise to/be at the top in the way men do, they don't necessarily think of it in the terms of the alternate roles of domestication as you've stated. Truly, they do embrace their more feminine roles of mother, spouse, etc., quite fiercely, but there is an ever growing number of them who want to and are embracing careers as a viable and attainable alternative to the known stereotype. The main challenge women face, also the main reason for the quota system (imo) is the patriarchal nature of most world economies. This is frustrating and discouraging to women and generally factors into the where, when, how far and other related thought processes in relation to their careers. Ordinarily, I would whole heartedly agree with you that working hard would be the way to go, but where this is sometimes not recognized or even the antithesis of the needful in a male dominated field or upper tiers of management in an organization, what is a career focused woman to do? You have to agree that women tend to face more sexist crap at work than is necessary—-the lecherous looks, butt pinching, propositioning, outright sexual harassment, etc. Back in the day in Nigeria, a female doctor friend of mine found it extremely hard to perform her duties during her housemanship and after. She was frequently denied the requisite hands-on training with patients and relegated to lower level duties, while her male colleagues received the encouragement due both sexes. Needless to say, she has since relocated to the states and being career minded, has furthered on within the medical field and is now accorded the respect due her level of achievement.

    All this to say, if the world over (some countries more than others), women are encouraged to shine without conditionalites and undue attachments, then maybe there won’t be a need for the guilt ridden quota system.

    Again, nice post!

  4. Seun Seun Seun!!!!!!!!! I need your attention!!!!!!!!!!! You have made a website called you have not made a contact page for people to be able to contact you! i cant even register as it is not letting me. And its is so hard to get hold of you! I do not appreciate my wedding pictures being posted up without my permission by somalia9!!!!! its on page 10 under african weddings/ somalian weddings!! please do something about this as I can not register and speak to the person myself

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