Race and gender quotas, whether in publishing, the media, or scientific research labs, are becoming more extreme and more ineluctable.”

Heather Mac Donald, Editor

Advantages & Disadvantages of Gender Quotas

advantages and disadvantages of gender quotas

Gender quotas are a rather recent concept which is meant to improve chances for women in several parts of our daily life.

The concept of gender quotas basically states that a fraction of all members of a specific group has to be composed of women.

For instance, some counties have gender quotas in place that state that a certain fraction of their parliament has to be reserved for women.

Although gender quotas have many important advantages, there are also some problems related to this concept.

In this article, the pros and cons of gender quotas are examined.

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Advantages of Gender Quotas

  1. Better chances for women on the job market
  2. Can be considered to be fair by some people
  3. Better chances for women to get into politics
  4. Higher level of freedom for women
  5. Overall quality of life of women may improve
  6. May lead to a higher level of tolerance in our society
  7. Can strengthen confidence levels of women
  8. May prevent discrimination of women
  9. Dynamic towards more women in positions of power
  10. We are all humans and therefore should have equal rights
  11. More women may bring new ideas and concepts
  12. Role model for other countries to follow
  13. Healthy mix between men and women works best
  14. May prevent women to suffer from old-age poverty
  15. Cultures tend not to change without quotas

Better chances for women on the job market

One important advantage of gender quotas is that women will have much better chances in the job market. When it comes to the decision whom a company wants to hire and qualification levels of applicants are almost equal, chances are that a woman gets the job instead of a man since the company has to fulfill their women’s quota.

In some cases, even though the qualification level of the woman might be much lower, she would still get the job if those quotas have to be urgently fulfilled.

Therefore, the overall chances on the job market as well as chances for promotions will be much higher for women if gender quotas are introduced in the corporate sector.

Can be considered to be fair by some people

Some people also claim that those gender quotas can also increase the overall level of fairness in our society. Since men and women are equally valuable human beings, they should also have equal chances when it comes to leading roles in companies or in politics.

However, in our current state of the world, our leading roles are still mainly governed by men. Therefore, in order to increase the overall level of fairness in our society, gender quotas may be able to overcome the issue of a lack of women in those important positions.

Better chances for women to get into politics

Especially in politics, women are greatly underrepresented in many countries around the world. Yet, a variety of really important decisions are made by politicians and if we really want more participation and decision-making of women, it is crucial that we give women a chance in parliaments all over the world. Only then will women have a real impact regarding decisions that could make a real difference for our future.

Higher level of freedom for women

In general, through the introduction of women quotas, women would also benefit from a much greater level of freedom. They would have higher chances to work in the job they want and might also be able to engage in the political discussion.

Moreover, women may no longer be considered to have the role to stay at home and to take care of the kids, the role in society for women might change significantly.

For instance, in many countries where gender quotas already exist, it is quite common that the man stays at home and takes care of his family if he earns significantly less than his wife.

Hence, gender quotas may also change the general attitude towards what women are meant to do in our society and therefore also give women a greater level of freedom regarding what they want to do with their lives.

Overall quality of life of women may improve

Since women may get more options through the implementation of gender quotas, they will also likely benefit from an overall improvement in their quality of life.

A higher level of freedom regarding what to do with our lives automatically translates into a higher level of happiness since we as humans are programmed to strive for freedom and self-fulfillment.

After the introduction of women quotas, those important opportunities are no longer a privilege to men, but are also accessible for women.

May lead to a higher level of tolerance in our society

In many countries all over the world, women are still considered to be not equally important compared to men. Thus, especially in those countries, women might have a quite hard time to become politicians or to get leading roles in companies since in many cultures around the world, women are just not meant to have those kinds of opportunities.

There are also religious aspects that often prevent women from getting those opportunities. Therefore, gender quotas in those countries would greatly benefit women since companies and parliaments would now have to employ a certain fraction of women, whether they want to do so or not.

Over time, men who where quite skeptical at first may now agree that it is a good idea to have some women in those positions and the overall acceptance towards women may increase in the long run.

Can strengthen confidence levels of women

Women often have much lower levels of confidence compared to men. Some women would be able to make so much more out of their lives, yet they often do not think they can work in demanding jobs. Quite often, their own family might tell them to rather stay at home instead of pursuing a corporate career.

In order to strengthen the confidence levels of women, gender quotas might be a good idea since over time, it may become quite common for women to work in demanding jobs and the notion of stay-at-home mommies would likely vanish over time.

May prevent discrimination of women

Another upside of gender quotas is that the introduction of those quotas may also lower the risk of gender discrimination. In many countries all over the world, women still have not the same rights as men and suffer from many disadvantages in several parts of their daily life.

However, through the implementation of women’s quotas, women may now be enabled to work in demanding jobs and their overall acceptance in society may increase.

Moreover, women may also be able to earn really good money, which would decrease the dependence on their partner. Thus, it would also be easier for them to escape unhappy marriages.

Dynamic towards more women in positions of power

Gender quotas could also help to start a dynamic towards getting more women into positions of power. For instance, if gender quotas are introduced, more women will work in leading roles over time.

However, even if those quotas will be fulfilled at one point in time, chances are that the dynamic towards more women in leading roles will continue since women might become more confident since they will have good role models.

Over time, more and more women might aspire to leading roles in corporations or in politics.

We are all humans and therefore should have equal rights

Many people also consider it a human right to have equal chances. Yet, in many countries all over the world, women are still considered to be not as valuable as men and therefore have worse chances in their daily lives.

Hence, especially in those countries, it might be quite helpful to introduce gender quotas in order to strengthen our human rights and to give women the chance to live a fulfilled life.

Consequently, gender quotas may also help to improve the overall treatment of women in society.

More women may bring new ideas and concepts

It has been shown by many different studies that companies that have a healthy fraction of women employed perform better than companies that are dominated by men. This is due to the fact that men and women think quite differently and that each gender has its own advantages and shortcomings.

Therefore, a healthy mix of men and women in leading roles can help to compensate for weaknesses each gender has. In turn, the end results might be much better in the long run and companies that enforce gender quotas may outperform companies who refrain from doing so in the long run.

Role model for other countries to follow

While some countries have already implemented gender quotas for the corporate as well as for the political sector, other countries still refrain from doing so.

However, over time, chances are that the pressure on countries that do not have gender quotas will increase and over time, it is quite likely that those countries will also implement those quotas.

Therefore, in order to raise the overall acceptance of gender quotas, it is crucial that some countries start in order to increase the overall pressure on other countries to follow.

Healthy mix between men and women works best

Also from a social perspective, a healthy mix between men and women is considered the best way to assure success in the corporate world. Quite often, if you work in big corporations, project teams are often mixed in a way that men and women are equally represented.

Experience has shown that those project teams work much better compared to teams that are only composed out of one gender. Therefore, especially in corporations which still mainly employ men, it might be time for a change, not only to fulfill quotas but also to improve the success of a company.

May prevent women to suffer from old-age poverty

Many women around the world also suffer from poverty once they retire. This is often due to the fact that they took care of the children while their spouse worked in the corporate world.

However, in such a case, the retirement benefits for those women are often quite limited and in case they get divorced, chances are that women may suffer from significant old-age poverty.

Therefore, it is crucial that those women also get the opportunity to work in the corporate sector for a certain period of time so that they have better security regarding their future pension payments.

Only then will it be possible to avoid old-age poverty on a large scale for women all over the world.

Cultures tend not to change without quotas

Without quotas, it may also be quite hard to change how the world works. In a society that is dominated by men, women might have a quite hard time to change things since men simply may not want to give women this opportunity.

Therefore, laws may be needed in order to give women opportunities that they would otherwise not have had. Thus, women’s quotas may be an important step to start a movement towards a higher level of tolerance towards women in various parts of our daily life.

Disadvantages of Women Quotas

  1. May be considered to be unfair
  2. Quotas may not be necessary
  3. Women already have equal rights
  4. Men may feel discriminated
  5. The best individual should get the job, independent of the gender
  6. May lower overall qualification levels
  7. Some women also don’t want leading positions
  8. Women may be belittled
  9. Some women do not want those quotas
  10. May increase level of frustration in a company

May be considered to be unfair

Although gender quotas can be quite beneficial for our society in many different ways, there are still some problems related to them. One downside of gender quotas is that they can be considered to be rather unfair.

For instance, if a man and a woman apply for the same job and gender quotas have to be fulfilled, chances are that the woman gets the job, even though she might have a lower qualification level than the male applicant.

Therefore, even though gender quotas strengthen the opportunities for women, they can also result in unjustifiable disadvantages for men at the same time.

Quotas may not be necessary

Opponents of gender quotas also often claim that those quotas are not necessary at all. In many Western countries, there is still no difference between men and women when it comes to chances for leading positions.

Although there might still be more men in leading roles in companies, this doesn’t mean that men are preferred. Men might be just more assertive, which is crucial to get into those leading positions.

Therefore, we might not even need gender quotas, we might rather need programs so that women learn their own value and that they can increase their level of assertiveness in order to get to leading positions in companies or in politics.

Women already have equal rights

In many countries around the world, especially in the Western world, women already have quite similar rights as men. Even though feminists often claim that women need more rights, this is often based on flawed arguments with the sole purpose not to get equal rights, but that women get actually more rights than men.

This is quite apparent in our nowadays society. Feminism often goes too far and claims benefits that are just ridiculous. While I am a strong advocate of equal rights for men and women, I am not a fan of feminism since it takes the whole thing way too far.

Men may feel discriminated

The implementation of gender quotas also often leads to a state in which men feel discriminated, and that for a good reason. Through gender quotas, men will have worse job opportunities since in case there are male and female applicants for a job, chances are that the female applicants will have much better chances to get the job.

This is not only true for the corporate world, but also for various other parts of our daily life. Hence, even though gender quotas are important to promote equal rights, they often lead to significant discrimination of men and may do more harm than good if they are implemented in a flawed manner.

The best individual should get the job, independent of the gender

There are even women out there who admit that the person who is the best fit for a job should get this job, independent of the gender or any other given characteristics. However, with gender quotas, this will not always be the case.

Therefore, companies may have to employ women who are less qualified than men and might therefore suffer from significant drops in profits and from other issues in the long run.

May lower overall qualification levels

If the concept of gender quotas is taken too far, it may also have a negative impact on the overall qualification levels of our society. For instance, if women know that they will get a job for sure solely due to the fact that they are women, chances are that they might be less eager to learn and to work hard in college.

In turn, our society may suffer from an overall drop in education levels, which can be detrimental in various aspects of our daily life.

Some women also don’t want leading positions

There are also women out there who are not suitable for leading roles in a company and who know that. In turn, some women even do not want to work in those jobs.

Yet, with gender quotas, the pressure on women in general increases to take on leading roles in a company in order to fulfill those quotas. Therefore, for some women, those gender quotas may do more harm than good.

Women may be belittled

Another problem with gender quotas is that women might be belittled in the corporate world. Men might think that those women are only working in those leading roles due to gender quotas and not due to their high qualification level. In turn, the level of respect towards those women might be quite limited.

Therefore, even though the idea behind gender quotas might be reasonable, those quotas could also lead to a state of lower levels of respect towards women.

Some women do not want those quotas

Even some women out there think that gender quotas are not necessary at all. Those women want to work hard and are willing to make efforts to really get into those leading positions in politics and corporations.

They don’t want to feel that they only got promoted due to their gender. Thus, while many women might advocate the implementation of gender quotas, others may not want those quotas at all.

May increase level of frustration in a company

The introduction of gender quotas might also lead to high levels of frustration inside corporations. While gender quotas might be beneficial in the short run, they can also be quite detrimental in the long run since men will become increasingly frustrated over time.

Men may feel that their quality of work does not play an important role at all but rather that the gender determines the chances for promotions inside the company.

This may lead to a state where men lose all their ambitions and their quality of work may drop significantly due to high levels of frustration.

Top 10 Gender Quota Pros & Cons – Summary List

Gender Quota ProsGender Quota Cons
Better chances for women on the job marketMay considered to be unfair
Better education opportunitiesGender quotas may not be needed
May be considered to be fairCan lead to a bad working environment
Higher levels of freedomWomen already often have equal rights
May improve the quality of life of womenMay foster frustration for men
Gender quotas may benefit our societyDiscrimination of men
Humans should have equal rightsThe best candidate may not get the job
May be good for corporationsWomen may get belittled
Can protect women from old-age povertyEven some women are against gender quotas
Women can bring new concepts and ideasMay lower overall qualification levels

Do We Need Gender Quotas?

As we can see from the previous analysis, there are many advantages of gender quotas. Yet, the implementation of those quotas also implies serious problems. In my opinion, gender quotas can make sense.

However, we still have to make sure that those quotas promote equal chances for women and men and that no gender will be discriminated against from the implementation of those quotas.

Sources

https://www.idea.int/data-tools/data/gender-quotas/quotas

https://eige.europa.eu/thesaurus/terms/1203

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_quota

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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