Genderquota in leadership generally refers to the representation of each gendermostly targeting the female gender in leadership positions raging form social,cultural, economic and political leadership to other forms of leadership in thesociety.
Research shows that the world is recovering from gender inequality inmajor aspects of human life such as in education and leadership (Pande & Ford, 2011). In the former ages,priority in both aspects was given to the male gender. It was viewed moresuperior than the female gender.
However, the 21st century has beencharacterized by mass calls for gender equality in education and all leadershipposition among others. Many countries such as Norway have positively respondedto this call through proposal for gender quotas in leadership (Wang & Kelan, 2013) . However, gendergaps are still present in leadership positions especially in the third worldcountries despite the fact that they are narrower than ever before. As for thedeveloped countries, gender equality is highly observed. Most nations haveincluded certain percentage requirements that must be met in leadershippositions especially in political leadership. Mostcountries have embraced gender quotas in their leadership positions.
This hasbeen approved to be the only effective and efficient technique for increasingwomen participation in leadership opportunities. The female gender has alsoarisen to take hold of these opportunities as well as compete with the malegender for such opportunities. Most organizations’ CEOs, board members, andprominent politicians, are women. In fact, some of the organizations led byfemale leaders have been spotted to perform better than those led by maleleaders (Pande & Ford, 2011). However, this isnot the case for all organizations or positions held by female leaders as somehave been found to be underperforming.
Genderquota has led to increased representation of the female gender in leadershippositions. Constitutionally, many countries have set laws governing theselection of leaders in political positions as well as in organizations boardsand other governing boards even in the private sector. For instance, the Norway government passed alaw governing that at least 40% of board members and also parliamentary leadersmust be women. Organizations that would violate such rules would be closed downand forced to revise and fix their selection criteria (Lee, 2014).Lee (2014) quoting from the international business report states that between2013 and 2014, women representation in leadership increased from 37% to 45% (IBR, 2014) globally. Theprocess of selecting the female leaders in order to fill up their quotainvolves augmenting a pool of female candidates.
The most qualified candidatesare chosen out of the other female candidates. This means that the winningcandidate is a woman. Therefore, gender quota in leadership has greatly increasedthe number of women representative in leadership positions. Without gender quota, it isdifficult to choose leaders on a gender equality base. Mostly, and especiallyin senior leadership positions male leaders are appointed or selected. In somecountries which have not embraced the gender quota majority of the leaders aremale leaders. This highly contributes to gender inequality in leadershippositions (Franceschet & Krook, 2012).
In the broaderperspective, leadership quotas results to gender sensitivity in leadershippositions. It is a marker and a signal in the change of leadership norms thatonly the male gender can lead. Gender quotas also increase women’saccess to power (O’Brien & Rickne, 2014). This is enhancedthrough proper implementation of gender quotas in leadership. In order toacquire the targeted least number of female leaders, there are leadership slotsleft solely for female candidates. This ensures only female leaders are fit forsuch posts and thus increases the presence of women leaders in the governingbodies. Also, in other slots females are given equal competing chances withtheir male counterparts and they are further encouraged to apply for such postswhere in most cases their given more priority over men.
These policiesfacilitate the rate at which women access leadership positions (Pande & Ford, 2011). Research shows that gender quotaincreases women’s career ambitions (Franceschet & Krook, 2012). The performance ofwomen leaders has been found to be as efficient as that of male leaders and insome instances even more efficient.
This is as a result of increasing thecareer ambitions in female leaders. They utilize these opportunities to curbthe cases of social stigmatization that only males can lead. Through efficientleadership skills, they have proved to be qualified just as their malecounterparts and even better performers. Further, having women in leadershipposts inspires them to climb up to higher positions. For instance, the nationsthat have many female leaders in politics tend to have female heads of state aswell or rather have women competing for the top most leadership positions againstmale politicians. Whether they win or lose it doesn’t matter but they presenceand ambitions to lead in the senior leadership are felt (O’Brien & Rickne, 2014).
However, gender quota has also someadversely negative impacts in leadership. For instance, in gender quota thefemale gender is always the minority group. In almost all cases, women are onlygiven a slot of less than 50% or just a third representation in leadership.This implies that they are always the minority and thus dominated by maleleaders. This does not champion for gender equality in leadership unless thereis equal representation such as 50% share for each gender. Further, femaleleaders are mostly given the slots of traditionally feminine positions whilemale leaders focusing on the high prestige positions (Franceschet & Krook, 2012).
Further, women findit difficult to air and support their opinions especially in the politicalsetting. This is also characterized by the fact that they speak less comparedto male leaders in legislative positions (O’Brien & Rickne, 2014). Through increase womenrepresentation in leadership, the male leaders somehow feel threatened. This ismostly experience in elective posts.
Male react by limiting the authority offemale leaders, which is easy for them to do as they are the majority leadersand as well hold the most senior positions. Therefore, women are stillsubjected to male leadership (O’Brien & Rickne, 2014). The ugly reality isthat such marginalization on the female gender leaders may lead to theirlimitation to access power and also achieve their career ambitions. Forexample, although many female candidates have competed and campaign for the topmost political position in their countries, they rarely win not because theirqualifications are in question but because their gender is. Their male rivals’campaign against their considerations questioning of their ability toeffectively manage such positions based on their gender (Franceschet & Krook, 2012). Genderquotas have had both positive and negative impacts.
Their presence is mainly tointroduce the presence of the female gender in leadership. It has successfullyachieved this. However, this is not enough since the female gender stillremains subjected to male dominance even in leadership. There are hardly equalleadership opportunities. Perhaps this is because only the male gendercontrolled the structure of gender quota and thus ensured that female access topower will remain to be the minority group.
In my opinion, gender quota shouldequally affect both genders. Each gender should have 50% representation inleadership positions. No more no less, otherwise the female gender will remainsubject of the male gender.