David Gonski is “diametrically opposed” to gender quotas.

Disagreeing with Gonski, Carol Schwartz stated that quotas are the “perfect” solution to this underrepresentation. In order to tackle the underlying belief systems and unconscious bias that keep women from leadership roles, Schwartz says there needs to be a “paradigm shift which will actually move the dial.” For that, “the only answer is quotas,” she says.

Schwartz says quotas need not aim for exact gender parity every time, “that is way too rigid,” she says. Instead, she proposes a “quota for men of 40 per cent, a quota for women of 40 per cent, and 20 per cent floating.”

In 2015, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon introduced a bill so that this 40/40/20 formula would become mandatory for all Australian government appointments, but it was rejected.

Professor Cordelia Fine of the University of Melbourne, put forward a social justice argument in favour of quotas. She said that based on U.S. data, women and minorities are more compassionate, other-minded and egalitarian, and also tend to take greater account of the welfare of employees, communities and the environment.


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