Calls for quotas for Asians on company boards and in the upper echelons of the public service would provoke ridicule. Arguments that corporate Australia needs to harness Asian perspectives to better compete in the `Asian century’, and that Asian people are unfairly underrepresented in the senior managerial ranks of the largest companies would be dismissed as weak at best.

'What's she doing here?' 'Dunno, they said we had to have a woman.' 'Hiiiiiiya!'Pic: Supplied

Yet the same sorts of arguments motivate the depressingly fashionable trend toward quotas for women in the workforce. Since 2011 both the government and the Australian stock exchange have introduced rules requiring companies to encourage greater female representation at the executive level, so far stepping short of recommending hard quotas.

The public service has gone further, though. Treasury in Canberra intends to have women make up 35 per cent of its senior staff by 2016, and this week it emerged the Reserve Bank has considered an `aspirational’ target of ensuring women fill 40 per cent of its senior ranks, despite an internal review showing no bias against women in promotion given their levels of experience.

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  • libertarian vegetarian says:

    06:04pm | 18/01/13

    Gosh the bitter and angry boys today! There are plenty of women who are hard workers and ruthlessly profit motivated, you’ll just tend to find us as self employed or working in a small to medium sized business, rather than in large corporations. Women often require a degree of flexibility… Read more »

  • Robinoz says:

    05:59pm | 18/01/13

    If I was a woman, I would be offended to think that the government believes I can’t organise myself and my career without special privileges. Most of the women I worked with and for in the APS were intelligent, well qualified people respected by me and my fellow male colleagues.… Read more »


Positive discrimination is, if not dead, at least on life support with an overeager nurse reaching for the off switch.

Tokenism just doesn't work. Pic: Ross Michael

That’s according to a decent-sized survey out today that found two thirds of Australia’s bosses will not mandate that females be included in shortlists for senior management positions.

I reckon I wouldn’t be alone in turning a blind eye to that nurse, and wanting quotas put out of their misery. There are much better ways to achieve workplace diversity.

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  • Dr McKay says:

    05:28pm | 16/05/12

    You can also get throat cancer from the cervical virus.  I’m sure you can all figure out how. Read more »

  • PsychoHyena says:

    02:21pm | 16/05/12

    @Ads, it’s interesting, but the question gets asked to identify whether you may need additional support. If you answer yes they assume that you need assistance with everything because you’re aboriginal/torres strait islander, if you answer no they figure you’ll be fine, if you refuse to answer (you’re allowed to… Read more »


True equality is impossible. We are not born equal, and we cannot be made equal.

Cartoon: Bill Leak

But equal opportunity for all is a noble and realistic goal.

In a fairly short time – say, a century – women’s position in society has altered dramatically. This time one hundred years ago women had few rights. They were second-class citizens.

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  • n_dude says:

    05:17pm | 21/03/11

    @Alex - not sure if that is true, can you quote your sources. Anyway, if it was the case, then wouldn’t it be cheaper for the organisation to hire all women graduates? Why would organisations unnecessarily raise their labour costs when they can get the same quality of labour for… Read more »

  • Syl says:

    01:30pm | 21/03/11

    Alex Same qualifications does not equal same position.  If there is a company paying men more money than women for the same position I’d suggest you report them because it is illegal. Unless of course your making it up. Read more »


Does Australia need a Quota Law? Most would say ‘no’ – just as they did in Norway when it was introduced. Now that at least 40 percent of board seats on Norwegian Public Listed Companies are held by women, the Quota Law is widely accepted across Norway as a reform ‘they had to have’.

Illustration: John Tiedemann.

But has it produced a result down the food chain? A recent study has said ‘not at this stage’, questioning if quotas are required at management and executive levels or if the marketplace and gender conscious Norwegian society will address this imbalance.

The Quota Law requiring companies to appoint 40 percent of the under-represented gender to their boards was announced by the Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry in a conservative government, in 2002 and approved by Parliament in 2003.

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  • fr says:

    05:44pm | 25/05/12

    1 lkmlk Read more »

  • odonseknokidE says:

    05:35pm | 24/05/12

    payday loans online direct lenders - <a >payday loans online</a> , http://onlinepaydayloanshere.com/#16282 payday loans online direct lenders Read more »


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