In defence of quotas

Even in liberal circles, we’re still arguing over the use of quotas in recruitment for women and people of ethnic minorities and whether they are fair.

I back quotas to get a fairer amount of women and ethnic minorities into a profession or onto company boards.

I see quotas like this:

In a forest there’s Group A and Group B and 10 apples. Group A has 8 apples and Group B has 2, mainly because Group A prevented Group B from getting near most of the apples the day before.

Group B finds an eleventh apple and keeps it, then a Group B member asks a Group A member for an apple. They fight over it and Group B wins.

Some of the Group A members go crazy. They’re like: Oh my God, they’re taking over, we’ve only got six apples now and they’ve suddenly got four. It’s so unfair on us; Group B is erasing us.

Some of the Group A members say fair play to Group B, they deserved more apples, so others in Group A start calling them names, saying they’re not proper Group A members and they’ve been tricked by Group B and turned into traitors.

Quotas don’t make life unfair for men or white people, that not what fair means. They make the whole playing field fairer, reducing the inequality that is stacked against women and people of ethnic minorities.

For example, if a quota requires 25-30% of women in a role or on a shortlist, the level at which most seem to be set, men will still get most of the jobs on top of the fact that they’re still getting paid more on average and still getting the best networking and promotion opportunities. Even if it’s 50/50, broadly reflecting the population split, men still get a fair chance.

Having listened to the debunking of the nonsense that quotas are unfair, critics will state that quotas result in “token women” in roles. A lot of women even use this ridiculous logic. Anyone who says this is saying it is not possible that there women out there who are perfectly suitable for those roles. (Frankly if you’re a woman saying this, then you’re a turkey voting for Christmas). People who use this argument are also saying that companies and recruitment firms do not operate highly competitive and exhaustive hiring systems. They’re saying the women going for boardroom seats aren’t brilliant women who have fought hard for years on an uneven pitch and still excelled and proved themselves more capable than the men who didn’t get to where they are. They are also saying that it is better that women don’t get any such roles, than get them without universal approval. Women’s opportunities should not be stifled to accommodate the narrow-minded and the logically-challenged.

All this can also be said of the need for quotas for ethnic minority applicants.

Racist white people hate to see black and ethnic minority people getting apples, just as sexist men hate to see women getting them.

Even white people who don’t know they’re racist hate to see this. I suppose they feel that they’re entitled to all those apples all the time, even if they actually prefer eating pears.

The bottom line is, if you’re threatened by a level playing field, you need to improve your skills.


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