In my writing, I have taken the view that quotas for women on corporate boards will not necessarily result in gender equality in companies. A quota is a cosmetic fix at the top. Unless there is willingness to go and fix the various reasons for women not progressing up the pipeline, we will not fix underlying issues.
In a recent article for the Conversation (New Zealand edition), I wrote that “quotas, whether imposed by governments or market players, tend to result in companies appointing diverse people from within their own networks”. I have instead argued in favour of viewpoint diversity on boards, to strengthen board decision-making. To have people with different viewpoints, and the willingness to challenge the CEO when required, boards should be looking to appoint outside existing networks.
I was interviewed by an RNZ podcast, The Detail, based on my article in the Conversation (referred to above). The podcast aired this morning and also included an interview with Rob Campbell, a prominent businessman in New Zealand. You can catch the podcast here.
I have to add here that the article accompanying the podcast does not make any mention of me or my argument. I wasn’t sure if this meant that they are against highlighting women interviewees or against highlighting an unpopular view.
When I wrote to the person who interviewed me, he said that the written piece is a teaser for the podcast and that the “written pieces focus on ONE talent and ONE angle to the story, and due to word limits this tends to be the simplest and most easily digestible angle, as the point of it is to encourage people who read the piece to listen to the more nuanced podcast”. However, he has accepted that I’m “quite right” that my “name should be in there as part of this preview”. He says it is an oversight and RNZ will amend it.
This has allowed me to stress that viewpoint diversity is important, albeit in a different context. The article accompanying the podcast would have read much better had it been balanced and mentioned both views and both interviewees.
Update: Three hours after posting this blog on social media, RNZ has mentioned me, my argument and my institution at the bottom of the written piece accompanying the podcast. But they call me Ms. Kamalnath instead of Dr. Kamalnath. I welcome the acknowledgement of my contribution, but was hoping that it would be a respectful one.