If you mention gender quotas to me you will probably sense my temperature rise and start to notice the steam emerging from different parts of my body!
I want the best person to get the job but I do absolutely believe that we need to do everything to make sure this can be a woman or a man with no disadvantage to either.
However (this is huge coming from me!) watching the political standoff between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the independent candidates and the other parties as Ireland struggles to form a government reminds me of some of the key messages I heard recently at the Network Ireland, International Women’s Day event.
At the conference Gabrielle Motolla (a very impressive American photographer who lives in Iceland) spoke about the worldwide economic crash and a profound comment that was made at the time that “the banking systems lack of femininity caused many of the problems”
It wasn’t that there were too many men involved but the point was there was too much “masculinity” in the mix – too much testosterone, too much macho stuff, too much bravado, too much risk taking, too much ultra competitiveness and too many egos recklessly driving the banking system off the cliff.
All of these characteristics can be demonstrated by men or women but they are typically masculine traits so a gender balance could provide some protection against the potentially dangerous excesses of these traits.
This point really impacted on me – I understood exactly what she was saying and I can see the danger myself of too much of any particular trait in an organisation.
I met a Canadian woman at the same conference who operates a large energy company in Canada and we spoke about this issue. She’s not in favour of quotas but she explained that in her business it would be virtually impossible to manage a team of all men and it would be just as difficult with a team of all women.
In her experience the guys are just too macho and the women are too passive and cautious – she reckons a balance works best and in her industry she reckoned 60/40 works best and this is what she strives for when assembling teams.
With our political impasse at the moment I notice that nearly all of the posturing, which is getting us nowhere is very masculine.
We desperately need to sort this out and get our country back on track – maybe we should introduce some femininity and get this process moving?