gender-equalityThis Friday will be International Women’s Day! So, to mark the date, all this week Debating Europe will be publishing a themed series of posts looking at the issue of gender equality in Europe. The EU prides itself on having equality between women and men as one of it founding values (though its inclusion in the 1957 Treaty of Rome was probably initially more about economic necessity than idealism). But how much do the EU’s values match up with the reality?

We’re starting things today with a look at a controversial piece of legislation proposed by the European Commission last November, which (if implemented into law) would establish gender quotas in European boardrooms, leaving companies at risk of sanctions if they fail to achieve the threshold of 40 percent female board members.

Last week, German industry groups were the latest to speak out against the proposed law, which they believe would hurt business. We have also had some strong criticism of gender quotas from our readers, including from Catherine, who argued that:

Anyone who is worth their salt rises up through the ranks naturally: Margaret Thatcher, Christine Legarde, Aung San Suu Kyi.   No, what you are trying to [achieve is people] being offered roles because of their body difference… Political correctness is an insult to all those women who stand on their own.

Before we start looking at gender quotas in detail, it might be good to take a quick peek at the current status of women in business and politics in Europe. Of course, there is a great deal of variety across Europe, but currently only 3.2% of the Presidents or Chairs of the largest publically-listed companies in the EU are women. Similarly, only 13.7% of the board members of these companies are women.

Thing aren’t much better in politics, where only 23.2% of sitting parliamentarians in Europe are women. The European Parliament itself manages a slightly improved figure, with 35% of MEPs being women (with Finland having the most women MEPs and Malta having the fewest), though this still pales in comparison to the Nordic countries, where 42% of all parliamentarians are women.


Scandinavian countries pioneered many of the gender quotas being considered at both European and national level today, so we decided this was a good place to start with our interviews. We began by speaking to Arni Hole, who is the Director General of the Departement of Family Affairs and Equality in Norway. Norway was the first country in the world to adopt binding quotas for the boards of publicly listed firms. As a consequence, women now make up more than 40% of board members Norwegian companies. So, what would Arni Hole think of Catherine’s criticism of gender quotas?

hole-speaksIt’s not an issue of women being on boards because they are women. It’s about them being on boards because they are competent individuals.

In the past, it was simply a case of structural discrimination. What we saw, after a lot of research was done, was that many competent women (and many competent young men) were not even being put on the election lists to be nominated for elections to boards. So, in fact, it’s a question of having a gender balance when they set up election lists for boards, and looking for competent individuals from both genders from the very start of the process.

In Norway, the proportion of women on company boards has leapt from only 15% to 40%. However, according to a report by the European Women’s Lobby, the number of female CEOs and Chairpeople has not increased: 95% of boards in Norway are chaired by men, and only 2% of CEOs are women. Should Norway perhaps go even further, then, and try to legislate to increase the number of women CEOs and board chairs?

Senior positions are a completely different matter. You cannot use regulations to decide those. According to Norway’s business laws, it is up to the board members to find and recruit the company CEO… True, it’s a little strange, when you have had gender balance in boardrooms for some years, that you do not have more women CEOs employed by those boards. That’s interesting, but there’s nothing we can do about that. I think this will take some time, and I think that cultures have to change.

Next, we spoke to Mikael Gustafsson MEP, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the European Parliament, and asked him a bit about the prospects for an EU-wide boardroom gender quota. Does he think the proposals are likely to be successfully passed into law?

gustaffson-speaksThe Commission has put forward its proposal and the European Parliament shall say what we think; and the Parliament thinks this is a good method to go ahead. I want to make it very clear, however, that there are many measures to be considered when we talk about gender equality in Europe, and company boards are not the whole world.

The Parliament really wants the Commission’s proposals to become a legislative proposal, but I can’t say what the outcome will be in the Council.

It’s important to note that the Commission’s quota proposal still has a long way to go before it has a chance of becoming law. Mr Gustafsson was not explicit, but there is every possibility that it will meet serious resistance in the Council of the European Union (where national ministers will get a chance to vote on it).

Next, we spoke to some women’s organisations to see what they thought of gender quotas. First up, we spoke to Elina Saaristo-Diatta, Coordinator at the Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations (NYTKIS). How would she respond to Catherine’s criticism of gender quotas as an “insult to all those women who stand on their own”?

And, finally, we spoke to Jana Smiggels Kavková, Chair of the Czech Women’s Lobby and Director of Fórum 50%, an NGO working to improve the representation of women in public life. We also asked her to respond to Catherine’s comment:

What do YOU think? Are gender quotas necessary to prevent structural discrimination in board rooms? Or do they merely assign people positions because of their body differences? Are they insulting to competent women who can achieve things on their own? Or should other European countries learn from the successful use of quotas in Scandinavian countries? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Elephant Gun Studios

Note: On Wednesday, Friends of Europe will be holding an event in Brussels looking at “Why women hold the key to sustainable development”

72 comments Post a commentComment

  1. Aleksejs Miščuks

    And soon we will have situation when an employee is being rejected after the interview because his gender doesn’t fit the quota.

    • Sim


  2. Carlos Trocado Ferreira

    I Agree. Providing gender, age, experience and other differences are considered into a table or matrix to apply to the correct algorithms for selection. I forgot to include, children, number or pets, hobbies and the way the applicant parks a car…

    • Bastian

      Bravo! With your two sentences you have brilliantly summerized the core of post ’68 social theory. Instead of class-struggle we can engineer antagonism between all those qualities you mentioned and many more. In the meantime some of us can get very rich undesturbed.
      It is disgusting that this became the main policy of ther EU – our “peace project”.

    • Dionator

      It’s not unfair women are under represented? Do you really think it’s due to incompetence?

    • Isabel

      No, it is not unfair. You give for granted that there are as many competent women as there are men, who are actually interested in top management positions. Of course competent women should be given the same opportunities and of course they should have the same conditions as men when they reach top positions.

      But the entire reasoning behind gender balance is wrong. Should we complain because there are less construction workers who are women?

    • Dionator

      Either I misunderstand your comment or it clearly lacks coherence.
      So you start by negating that the current situation is unfair and rightly, although trivially, assert that there are as many competent women as there are man. Yet you go on to say that women “SHOULD be given the same opportunities”. You don’t say women HAVE been given. You’re not affirming, you’re recommending which implies an imbalance in the current system. This assertion is inconsistent with your initial statement. If we start with your assertion of the equality of competence between men and women and taking into account your assent of the imbalance of the current system as evidenced by your saying “should” and not “have” in addition to what statistics say, one is lead to conclude two things: 1) Women aren’t as competent as man OR 2) Women are as competent as man and therefore their under-representation is a consequence of another problem. The latter, I think, would be more consistent with your argument, if I understand it correctly. Now you may accuse me of arguing on semantics rather than fact, but I submit to you, should that be your opinion, that I’m attempting to refute your argument and perhaps ask you either to clarify or provide a more convincing argument that justifies your claim of the system currently being far.
      I feel compelled to clarify that I’m for the levelling of the playing field and am not arguing on the legitimacy or the numerical percentage that would be enough to correct the problem at hand.
      You yourself seem to be arguing against the proposals without stating what you think would be a better solution and in taking that stand you sound like you simply want to maintain the status quo without giving convincing reasons.

  3. Dionator

    Every time an issue like that comes up those who aren’t comfortable with change will bombard us with stories delineating the damage changes will have on economy and the status quo. Most of the people who will argue on economic grounds will probably be those who think their jobs are at risk or some women who highly achieved and generalise their competence to cover all other women. It is obviously possible for women to attain positions traditionally held by men, but they have to try HARDer than their male counterparts to have the same chances. This means that the playing field is not level and some kind of corrective measure has to be taken to level it.

    The current structure of our institutions are implicitly discriminatory. They discriminate not in terms of institutionalised laws, but by symbolic annihilation. One can’t help but notice the inconsistencies between the number of female graduates, their grades and their representation in the workplace. Furthermore, the under representation of women in the work place under the current structure suggests a set of possible reasons, all of which have seriously negative implications for women. One, it suggests that women are not capable enough enough to take on traditionally male jobs which is an appallingly sexist and outright sign of ignorance. The other is that women have been, either systematically or by socially accepted norms, been restricted or discouraged from certain jobs.
    Therefore a legislation that seeks to redress the balance will not only serve to eliminate barriers existing for women who try hard, but it will also serve to encourage more women to apply for traditionally male jobs. The latter will have the benefit increasing the poll of potential highly skilled individuals which will ultimately have a positive effect on the economy at large.

    • Chrissie

      I hope many people see this comment and read it with an open mind. It hits the nail on the head, thank you for sharing!!

  4. Jovan Ivosevic

    Wait, QUOTAS? Doesn’t that violate the Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter Fundamental Freedoms if a better qualified man is rejected solely due to his gender, and a woman is hired in his place? Either way it’s a bad idea.

  5. Peter Schellinck

    We ought to be ashamed this to be an issue! Respect Mother Nature and equality harmonizes human equilibrium.

  6. Limbidis Adrian

    Oh my GOD , NO !
    Look at America and how mesed up it has become.
    Jobs should be handed by SKILL not by quota. That would be forcing people who are skilled out of a job in favor of a less capable person just because they don’t fit the quota.
    Quotas don’t promote “equality”.
    This would be a total DISASTER for the EU.

  7. Me

    Being a woman and having worked within IT in a Nordic country, I have seen the negativity that quotas can result in – anything from less competent individuals getting the job because of their gender, to men wondering whether the female professional has the necessary skills or is just there for the quota.

    On the other hand, I have also been passed over on jobs and promotions because I am a woman and not a part of the “boys’ club” and because I am in child-bearing age. Therefore I very much agree that something needs to be done but at the same time I think that quotas are somewhat of an “easy way out”, a less effective easy way out that does not reflect the society. Instead, the focus should lie on involving men in raising children, making them take their share of responsibilities in terms of time spent away from their career.

    If however quotas are implemented, they should be temporary to bridge the current structural differences. Then, there needs to be a sound plan to follow up the changes as well as a sound plan to dismantle quotas after the necessary period.

    • Dionator

      Very balanced and objective point there. I also think it should be a corrective measure and not permanent solution, which I’m sure that’s the intent of the law in any case.

    • Me

      Thank you. :-)
      I am afraid that your impression on quotas as a law rather than a temporary solution is correct. But, luckily laws are under constant development. I rather fear that once a law is installed the issue will disappear from the political discourse, while not solved in reality. Even if quotas are reality, they do not solve problems like child care being available for any mother who wants to make a career.

    • Me2

      I absolutely agree with this statement: quotas (by the way: the EU has geographic ones, anybody complains about those???) should be temporary and aimed at facilitating a change in culture and unfair structures. that said i just want to point out that men have enjoyed informal quotas for centuries, have we ever noticed? or are we implying that all men in jobs and high ranking positions are there because of their supposedly better qualifications/skills? LOL!! And so stable, so sure were they of ‘deserving’ their positions, that they never had to even think of legislating about them, they were simply unquestionable. some of the comments above imply that there aren’t enough competent women in our countries to make up for the quotas and men would lose out to less able competitors in job selection. They also imply that quotas are tantamount to accepting low standards in companies, boards or administration. A correct interpretation of quotas should simply state that given equal titles, experiences and competences, recruitment/advancement of women will be favoured over that of men for as long as it takes to have a decent amount of equality.
      Giving men and women real life choices should be the next EU’s aim, once the quotas approved. but that is much, much harder.

  8. Ariste Arvanitides

    No Peter, it is not nature that needs to harmonize human equilibrium. Women are purposefullly kept out of the good jobs and equality does not exist, so we need to pass laws, quotas, and uphold the laws. Men are always trying to impose their values on everything, and frankly that is why we have so much family violence, and women get the nonsense jobs. I am not complaining, because my name is such that people do not know if I am a man or a woman… so I have done well. Pass the word, equality for all, not just gendre.

    • Frustrated With Stupid People

      Your ideas are fully discriminatory. I have had many jobs in my life within women dominated disciplines and there is no merit to giving anyone a job based on gender. Male ideas are certainly not the only reason for family violence. You cannot speak for the whole of the world or even the diverse EU when imposing ideas of man and woman and accepted action. Why note take these ideas to the Middle East, Asia and some other areas of the world.

    • Dionator

      So you think she/he (Ariste’s full name, if it’s her/his true name sounds like a typical Lithuanian name) is speaking for the whole world, do you think you’re doing any differently? I mean you use yourself as an example and use that as a basis to make your conclusions. Just because you can think of examples it doesn’t mean those examples are representative of a general reality. They are relative to your experiences and not a general experience.

  9. João Camacho

    The quotas are a way of getting equilibrium gender in administration, politics or CEO. Results can be better than what is told because everyone needs to have their skills fullfilled. Also could be important to know how things have changed and where does some type of jobs areas woud be more effective in one or other gender.

  10. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    A libertade de expressão a libertade de viver tem que ser defendida temos obrigação de ser mais participativos em assundos de direitos as empresas as administrações publicas a sociedade civil devem contribuirem para o desenho de novos caminhos por isso as cotas de genero é o caminho gerem uma alternativa politica assente numa democracia reforçada dentro do espaço da UE

  11. Katalin Ertsey

    Equality measures, that is what they are. Quotas simply reduce the unfair overrepresentation of men, which is 92% in my country…

  12. Frustrated With Stupid People

    I am against Affirmative Action. The best proven record of results combined with honesty should be the criteria for any job. To select any race, creed or gender over another is in fact to discriminate against all the rest. part of the reason society falls apart or at least is in dire straights as compared to decades ago is the propping up of substandard or less qualified people for any given job. It is discrimination to employee based on gender.

    • Me

      Unfortunately the issue isn’t quite as simple. If you were to decide between a man and a woman who would you pick? The person who in the near future is likely to spend an amount of time on parental leave or the one who settles for a few days off to welcome the newborn? It would certainly be socially responsible not to weigh in these facts, but when hiring the first and foremost responsibility is to ensure production. Therefore meritocracy does not always work and there is need for regulation, especially when applicants are equally skilled.

  13. Bastian

    No gender quota, and no other quota either. The communist Soviets had quotas and we know where this led them – right into civilisational incompetence.
    Only as competitive societies will Europe withstand the storms of the future.

  14. Denis Cooper

    No, the EU should NOT implement gender quotas for boardrooms.

    For me this has nothing to do with the substance of Reding’s proposal – there are arguments both ways – but everything to do with it being yet another affront to British democracy, and indeed national democracy in five other EU member states where the national parliaments objected:

    “Most national parliaments in EU countries say the European Commission should go ahead with a law on female quotas on corporate boards. But six disagree.

    Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told press in Brussels on Wednesday (16 January) the consultation with MPs was not about the content of the proposal, but about “subsidiarity” – the question whether a given problem is best tackled at EU or local level.”

    The British House of Commons, the elected representative of the British people, has stated very clearly that there should NOT be EU legislation on this, and that should be the end of the matter.

    If other countries want to introduce national legislation through their national democratic processes then that’s up to them, but I strongly object to the EU continuing with its attempt to impose such legislation on my country against the expressed will of my national Parliament.

    At least we will have this example to bring up whenever Prime Minister Cameron starts burbling on about “subsidiarity”, a concept which in itself is an insult to our national sovereignty and democracy, and it may even help to hasten the day when the British people will once again be subject only to the laws freely made by their own national Parliament, and will be able to live in their own homeland without having to obey laws put in place because the representatives of foreign countries voted for them.

    • Daniel

      Get over the whole “Britain should be British”. If it helps boost the performance of corporate organisations then why not allow EC law to be implemented in the UK?

  15. Latappy Florence

    I just think that if we wait for things to change by themselves, it will take such a long time ! I’m in favour of quotas.

  16. Mathias

    First, of all I am asking myself how it comes that so many people are complaining about positive measures that would support women ( even though I am a man, I have to admit that women are still the MAJORITY) to have equal opportunities to join their skills and qualifications. Or is here anyone that really has the courage to assert that women are not structurally discriminated. Apart from that not one man (me, too) has ever complained that we have a de facto male quota since centuries everywhere in the society (professions, politics, military,crimes etc.)! Can one both women and men tell me why you all accept the de facto quota by men since so many centuries? In addition, if I am not wrong informed but 60% of academics in Europe are women! If only merit would be the only criteria we would have less men but more women in leading and decision-making positions.
    Where are they? And do not come and say not all women would like to make carreer, because we know there are many men,too who don’t want to make a career and still we have everywhere men deciding about our future and about our society.To you women who think you would achieve evrything equally like men I can just tell you do not step into this trap in being against measures that would give women equal chances as you also harm men like me who are supporting an equal society where stereotypes have to be broken!!!
    FYI, the EC directive is not talking about quota and it referrs only to non-executive board members! Again to positions where women would only moderate, but not take decisions!

    • Solveig

      Thanks –
      Ich bin sehr verdrossen über diese endlose Debatte mit zu wenig Resultaten. Es geht um Gerechtigkeit und ohne Ausgleich jahrhunderte, ja jahrtausendealter Ungerechtigkeit ist die nicht zu erreichen.

  17. Christos Mouzeviris

    Well, while I agree that we need more women involved in politics, I do not think that placing quotas is the right way of doing it… Women do have more to offer and certainly we need their way of thinking in creating a more balanced society.. Remember in nature, it takes the unification of both female and male in creating perfection.

    But, by placing quotas, we are only creating more complexities. As so many already have mentioned, with quotas many that deserve the position will be left out, simply because their sex.. That is reversed discrimination.

    If you want to have more women involved in politics, then give them more free time, and lift the weight of the house keeping and child raising off their shoulders.

    And that means that giving more rights, or obligations for men in the family.. Until now it was mainly women that had to leave work to raise their children.. House keeping was mainly a woman’s responsibility.. If you are a father-at-home is seen as laughable for most..

    We do not need quotas… We simply need to change attitudes and mentality.. If we see women as equals, they will become more involved.. No quota can ever achieve that…. That is clearly a bureaucratic way of solving a problem… Sorry…

  18. Jony Bravo

    for shure not , isn’t such a good & healty act or idea :) as it looks and inspire his qualities * sences

  19. Mark Percival

    I think quotas are deeply insulting to women. A Romanian friend of mine who is highly successful in her profession and spent time in the U.S. was shocked by the political correctness there. She said she would be horrified if she was ever appointed to a position because of her gender.

  20. Christos Mouzeviris

    if one company advertises for three top positions and 10 people apply, that only three of them are women.. but it just happens that the three best candidates are men.. there is a quota that one position must go to a woman.. then who loses out, the man who lost his position, the company or both? why not try to attract more women applying for the position and make the ratio of applicants almost 50-50.. then it is bound that more qualified women will be in this bunch and even take not just one but two of the positions offered, or even all of them, if they are indeed the best candidates. in my opinion a quota is not right way, but encouraging more women to go for these positions and of course by changing attitudes and perceptions about women and offer our societies different role models.. but perhaps the easiest way is to place quotas… but then that is sad because it shows that we, as humans are not ready yet to change mentality about half of our population and we need to place laws to enforce it… :’o(

    • Me

      The woman will for the most part be the “lesser” applicant from the company’s point of view. She might have kids whom get sick and she has to stay home, she might also decide to have kids soon and then she leaves for maternity leave.

    • Christos Mouzeviris

      That is why I mentioned above that our families must change and men should take more responsibilities…

    • Me

      Yes you did, but you never mentioned how you wanted to *make* them change. It is still a stigma for men to stay home with the kids, despite women being statistically better educated

  21. Me

    It is interesting to see who participates in this conversation. Obviously, I’d like the men who argue against quotas to be a female applicant for a position that is usually perceived as laying within male domain. As long as the men aren’t willing to take an equal part of the responsibilities for domestic work and raising the kids, the quotas make sense afterall – more than doing nothing.

    • Solveig

      I agree 100% – Thats the point!

    • Musbcrazy80

      It is very interesting. You gave feminists on the one hand who want to dress special treatment up as equality and scream patriarchy when anyone challenges them with obvious logic. And on the other hand you have men who see this as blatant inequality and they’d be right and women who understand the term equality and what it isn’t and refuse to play the victim in order to get special privileges. Women who refuse to blame anyone but themselves for their lack of success and who on their own merit get to where they get to not because they filled some government sanctioned quota.

      I’m a woman who in the past has worked in what are known as male dominated workplaces. One example the HSBC as soon as I had started was asked if I would like to join a trainee management scheme. I didn’t have to ask, nor compete for the position. A male colleague noticed my abilities, requested that I be put forward for the scheme and went out of his way to get me onto the program. He didn’t have…there were many males he could have helped but the didn’t. The scheme had very equal representation I’d say 50/50. Of those on the scheme all but 2 women decided to leave the program as they felt it wasn’t for them or wouldn’t fit with life outside work. About 15 of the males are now branch managers within the bank. All choice no sexism whatsoever.

      I’m now a business owner who has 5 male employees and 2 female. I own various properties and am a mother. My girls father sadly is no longer with us but I haven’t let that be my excuse for not doing well in work and home life.

      It seems to me the banner of inequality perceived by many females is more a scapegoat, it’s the evil patriarchy to blame not my own flaws.

      Don’t you find it a bit strange that the word equality is being used for the very purpose of creating inequality. It’s morally baron and ethically despicable.

      Making a question about female quotas about men’s role in the home is nothing but a distraction. I know what would be interesting to find out…how many women would choose to go to work over being at home raising their children. The feminist notion that the stay at home mum is a creation of the patriarchy is delusional…they have no clue what women generally want to do they assume being a woman must mean we all think and feel the same.

      I’m curious what do you think the female quotas in refuse collection, steel works, mining, council workers should be….or is it just the cushy well paid jobs that quotas should apply to?

  22. catherine benning

    Why would you want to do this? Can you be explicit in what you believe will be achieved by this social engineering, because that is what it is.

    Do you feel this will advance mankind or perhaps make people happier in some way? Who do you see as benefiting by such a move? Creating enmity between the sexes is demoralising and dangerous to mankind.

    The move you should be considering is relieving women from the enormous responsibility of forcing them to abandon their children in order to play political games of such ill thought out policies.

    The majority of working women work in low paid, mind destroying positions which pay peanuts. And note I said the majority. Child care is abysmal for children and the sense of rejection they feel, from a very early age, stays with them for a lifetime.

    What politics have produced by this maniacal hatred of the male role is misery to the family. And it has removed any sense of feminine fulfilment in woman as a mother and a wife.

    Ask Russian and American women what they have had to sacrifice for those of you running us into the ground with your strange sense of misplaced misogyny.

    Leave nature alone.

    • Me

      Since you take up Russia in the way you do, you might be not aware that Russia’s leadership is fighting hard for women to actually have children rather than choosing career and not having children. And since you argue that the US takes regard in what you call “natural”, you might not be aware that there is no security for women whatsoever when it comes to maternal leave or child care. Would you really want women to rely on man for the sake of… yeah, for the sake of what actually?

    • catherine benning

      Lets take each of your points one at a time.

      Russia: it was Russia that was the first to play the political engineering game with woman as man. Yhe feminist movement was supposed to assist women in their difficult role as wife and mother. What it really was was a way to reduce the cost of male workers. In other words to reduce the salariies and lifestyle of us all by doubling the workforce which, akin to mass immigration, lowers the level of pay for employers. And what they did to relieve women from their straight jacket was, to promote anti feminine activity. It reduced our gender to worthlessness unless we lived and abosorbed the psyche of a man, pushing them into a masculine role as breadwinner and competitor. Anything a man can do i can do better. The political outcome of that is massive abandonment of children, family and the comfort of a homelife leading to the breakdown of the female ego in its own right.

      Look at what you see on the catwalk. Anyone with a minimum of policitcal education knows art follows politics. And fashion design is art. The women on the catwalk today look more and more like young boys. Skinny, shapeless, with angular faces of the cross dresser. In fact a denial of the female form as attractive in its full form. Voluptuous, round and comforting. And this has been followed by mass anorexia in young girls facing a fear of womanhood as they reach puberty and what going from child to woman means to them. Think about that and compare that to the reality of what feminism should mean. Which should mean joy in the female state as a whole.

      And how many Russian women strike you as feminine today? More importantly are allowed to be feminine. It is a hated and despised term. We are not supposed to speak it unless we are prepared to hear abuse. Lets see, women at their best away from anything that could be considered a natural female physique is where we have been led and have you looked closely at the leaders of this feminist movement? Which is directly promoted through social engineering. Women away from their human condition in order for them to compete with men and, God forbid, not be so called dependant on them is a mantra.

      My dear, we are all dependant in one way or another on each other, it is the human condition.

      And American women. Now they are the most abused women of them all. The expectation of those poor females is close to torture. Lets have a look at the lives of modern American women and children. It is abuse for many women who are forced to believe being a woman at home is only for the simple minded or low life mother who wants to ‘live off a man.’

      You write as if you have been indoctrinated by an anti male culture that abhors the reality of what being a woman really is. In reality, it is forced cultural mysogyny. Being a fulfilled and satisfied woman is not living out your life as a pseudo man in a so called career. That is for sure.

    • Me

      I am writing from a perspective of a woman who grew up in Russia and has spent a significant amount of time in the US. Although I understand where your point of view comes from, it seems somewhat romanticized. Why? Simply because you have, apparently, not experienced how women hold on to abusive relationships because there is little legal/social standing for them in the society as single mothers. You call me “brainwashed by forced misogyny”? No, I simply envision a society where a woman can CHOOSE to focus on her career or on her motherhood or likewise choose both – as women in the Nordic countries do. And I can tell you why it’s possible and socially responsible. The Nordic countries with all of their “forced misogyny” still have the best birth rate for well-educated women, way better than the US and Russia…

    • catherine benning

      I am pleased to see you feel Nordic women and children have the best going for them and that your goal is to emulate them. How fortunate for you.

      However, not according to the report out recently by, jonas Himmeistrand, telling us that Sweden have hidden and terrifying truth that those long days weeks months and years away from their home and family in day care and school meandthey have the highest rate of disturbed children and young adults.

      And where do you think I have spent my life getting romanticised? Why in the USA for ten of those years, taking in the horror the women of that country have to suffer. Including seeing one or two commiting suicide for being unable to stay home and care for their children, even when they are in top jobs. Their sense of self being completely destroyed. Don’t come at me with ignorant assumptions. I, of all people, am not a romanticist. The very reverse.

      You want to cling to the idea of domesticity as a woman is a low life way to live. Then go on doing so. Just have the courage to ask yourself why you feel that way and know the truth? Could it be because you have been sold that line since you were born?

      Being a woman, wife and mother having loving children around you and giving them a wonderful adulthood is, for the majority of females, the way to satisfy their innate condition. Competing with men as a man in his playing field is not any way to find self esteem in the psyche of a femininine woman.

      You may feel a sense of fulftilment from that kind of thinking and that way of life, the majority of women do not. Why would you want to condemn them all to that kind of misery along with their children? It is a misogynistic point of view. And a fear of looking at the debate in the face.

      Tell me what satisfaction are you getting from that idea? The psyche of the female is not fulfilled by the same conditions as the male psyche. He is on a quest. That is his nature. Just as our reproductive organs are different so is our sense of satisfaction.

      It doesn’t mean women can’t compete, or are not as smart, to join men in their goal of competition and being a ‘breadwinner’ because of course they can. It is the end result that is different. Men compete and revel in the compettion and seeing themselves as winner. This is not the hall mark of a womans desire to nurture.

      If you don’t believe that, then it is you who is the romantic. Living a lie is too late once you discover deception has been played out on you.

  23. Solveig

    Why are men not keen on quotas for men for raising children? Because they will not be payd for this job, will depend on the income of their wives, ask her for pocket money, will have less chances on the labour market, will have to work part-time or in poorly payd Mini-Jobs or, if single fathers, be dependent of governmental benefits or even face poverty.
    Women are still payd less – means: men are still getting payd too much. Womens representation in politics is still not the same as mens – means: men have too much power in social-political-economical decission making. Women in leading positions are minorities – means: there are too many men in leading positions.
    And not because they are more “skilled”. Women in Europe nowadays have similar education, in some countries even better education as men. Without quotas for women, there will be no change.

    • Limbidis Adrian

      YEah ok, i say let a few decades with your quotas and we’ll see how women run the world.
      It will be a miracle if we don’t nuke the world 30 time over over a split hair or a broken nail.
      “Men have too much power”.
      The average bloke has “too much power” ? Seriously?
      This kind of rubbish spewing from across the ocean ( as if we didn’t know WHERE is it coming from <.< ) is now trying to poison our minds.
      Weak women who can't make it fall back on "oh it's the patriarchy" "oh men have too much power".
      Bollocks !

      YES *some* men have power. So bloody WHAT?
      Most men are barely struggling to keep their lives intact and you want everything handed to you on a silver platter.

      This is not "socialism" it's THEFT. You want MEN's jobs regardless of wether you are skilled or not. You claim your anatomy ENTITLES you to have that job.

      Well reality check sweetie – it DOESN'T !

    • NickoBelle

      Quotas are sexist. Plain and simple. Today there are more women in universities because most women gets better grades in high school and universities having a limited number of seats for each course, so they will off seats only to the ones with the best grades. As a result we have more women in universities studying.

      So if we want quotas for women in the work place instead of relying on meritocracy, then the same should be done in seats at universities to allow more boys to get seats for university and hence allow the % of boy and girls in university to be equal instead of the current trend where girls have more seats at universities.

      But if this done at university level then feminists would argue this is unfair to women since we are denying the meritocracy of women who tend to have better grades and deserve more places in university. These are the very same feminist who ignore the fact that we have more qualified men than women in the job market and the same feminists who wants quotas so that meritocracy is denied in the work place over favoritism towards the female gender who currently have less skill people in the work place than men.

      This double standards among feminists is fascinating although now very well known. “we do not want quotas at university seats, because more girls have better high school grades and deserve more seats” but “we want quotas in the work place because there are more men with better qualifications than women so women will not get a chance to have more place at the work place, although currently more men deserve it than them”

    • Silvia

      Essentially most men abandon their children physically and emotionally because the choice is between an OK job or a crappy job and taking care of children, which is also another job but unpaid and unappreciated. Quotas alone isn’t the answer though, we need responsible parenting too.

  24. Marcel

    Why would these quotas only be introduces for ‘desirable’ jobs? It surely smells of jealousy on the part of women.

    If quotas, then they must be applied to ALL jobs. That means, every industrial processing plant must hire 40% women, compulsorily. And every childrens care agency must hire at least 40% men, compulsorily.

    No women should be hired as nurses until there is a quota of at least 40% in men. And we also would need quotas applied to professional football. Right now, the Champions League has 100% men. Why not set a quota to force Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to field 40% women as a minimum? After all, separate sports events for women and men are a sexist idea.

    And above all, we need a law requiring 40% of children to be born from a man. Meaning that every couple with two children that wants to have a third needs to have the womb transplanted from the woman to the man.

    That last bit sounds ridiculous to you? Precisely my point. People here are trying to come up with solutions for something that isn’t a problem. Sounds like politicians with nothing to do.

  25. Marcel

    And I almost forgot, I also demand legislation that a man’s life expectancy should be equal to that of women. Equality now!

  26. Paul X

    Anything from the EU that involves the word “Quota” leads to disaster

    Look at the pathetic Fisheries policy and fish quotas, throwing back perfectly good (but dead) fish into the ocean

    Gender quotas = rejecting perfectly good (male) applicants for board positions just to maintain a quota

    When will these people ever learn, for god sake start concentrating on important issues not meddling with trivia!

  27. Freyja Wyred

    Until you are the only woman in the board room, or trying to get their foot in the door to it, your opinion, however refined, maybe slanted. How about this perspective: When there are fewer dead beat Dad’s than Mom’s, then there SHOULD be more men in the work place.

    • Musbcrazy80

      That’s a total non argument…I hate this when you can’t answer with an intellectual response or deliver a logical explanation for your beliefs you resort to changing the subject and in true feminist fashion you man bash.

      This isn’t YouTube this is a thread to a very particular state of things situation we have in employment 2day. Instead of talking nonsense why don’t you put forward an argument, coherent if possible as to why female quotas are a good idea and should be implemented.

      I’d like to hear your opinion whether ud find such quotas acceptable if they were put in place to help males advance and also what you think having special privileges actually does for women’s self belief. Or do you not believe yourself on their own merit women are actually capable of getting to the top without special privileges from the evil patriarchy that apparently oppresses them.

  28. Teresa Silva

    The imposition of quotas is always a delicate issue: on one hand it is stupid because it is againts the principle of equal gender rights at its very beginning; on the other hand it is the only way to open doors to women in certain types of societies!
    I think that in the EU there may be found other ways to encourage in certain countries the increase the number of women in politics or in decision business! Perhaps through compensation mesures and not imposition of laws.

  29. Claudia

    Today I got an invitation fom DG enterprise of European Commission for a conference taking place beginning of June in Brussels. The topic is industrial policy. Out of more than 20 speakers there is only ONE single women (mEP Sartori) . We need a quota for gender balance in conferences organised by he Commission!

  30. NickoBelle

    Quotas are sexist. Plain and simple. Today there are more women in universities because most women gets better grades in high school and universities having a limited number of seats for each course, so they will off seats only to the ones with the best grades. As a result we have more women in universities studying.

    So if we want quotas for women in the work place instead of relying on meritocracy, then the same should be done in seats at universities to allow more boys to get seats for university and hence allow the % of boy and girls in university to be equal instead of the current trend where girls have more seats at universities.

    But if this done at university level then feminists would argue this is unfair to women since we are denying the meritocracy of women who tend to have better grades and deserve more places in university. These are the very same feminist who ignore the fact that we have more qualified men than women in the job market and the same feminists who wants quotas so that meritocracy is denied in the work place over favoritism towards the female gender who currently have less skill people in the work place than men.

    This double standards among feminists is fascinating although now very well known. “we do not want quotas at university seats, because more girls have better high school grades and deserve more seats” but “we want quotas in the work place because there are more men with better qualifications than women so women will not get a chance to have more place at the work place, although currently more men deserve it than them”

  31. Silvia

    If men aren’t physically and emotionally present for their children (sometimes not even financially) and their skills are much more appreciated than the ones women have, we’ll be stuck for ever. We need to start by reducing the working week, since we’ve got software and machines now, and by introducing paternal leave for men as their responsibility. Even better let’s have an unconditional income!

  32. Joan

    hi, I’m writing my dissertation on this topic right as this minute and was wondering if I could gain some of your views and also have a questionnaire which I would appreciate if anyone of you would take the time to fill in


  33. Musbcrazy80

    One word answer – “no”

    It blows my mind that anyone who actually thinks they understand the term equality or inequality more importantly would happily accept this type of action and passively observe as its represented in the media and of course by feminists as being a move toward equality.

    There are two reasons why this is both unfair and inappropriate. The first relates the very idea of being equal. Women or particularly women who identify as being feminist have for aslong as I can remember moaned about the so called patriarchy and male driven society and how advantages they had simply from being born a man could be considered as an attack on women. To then demand that businesses must employ a certain percentage of women into director level based purely on being born with a vagina is hypocritical. If women want special privileges (which this is certainly evidence of) then say that is the case. Putting a pretty bow on privilege still doesn’t make it equality.

    The second point is, as being a women myself, one with a business, owner of multiple properties and a mother I feel equally frustrated and patronised by women who have taken it upon themselves to speak for all women (despite the fact that less than 1 in 5 women identify as feminist). These women claim to be advancing women’s lives by creating opportunities for employment and pay but all they have actually achieved is to reinforce traditional held beliefs that women can’t reach top flight in business without some mandated government target that forces business to fill quotas. This says absolutely nothing about a women’s skill, ability and drive…nor does it highlight the merit of females who got where they are because they were good enough. Genuine success will without a doubt be written off by many as female privilege.

    This may be ok for those women whose only drive is women or those who’ll take any old leg up to see a bigger pay packet or bigger office but don’t call it feminism or gender equality as its neither. It’s ludicrous female superiority…spoilt middle class women who are used to feeling entitled and if they have to hide behind language like the patriarchy and misogyny to get shit easier then you bet you’ll be hearing a lot more of that crap.

    Why can’t we just apply common business sense….best person for job…leave your gender at the door.

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