At Davos this year, Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund lent her formidable weight to the argument about quotas for women in boardrooms. She argued that quotas were required to remove the “Tyranny of low expectations” for women. Making the numbers of women legally enforceable she said was unfortunate but now necessary.  On a panel she described how her attitude towards quotas has evolved over time. During her time with an international law firm, she formed the view that unless they had targets, if not quotas, there was no way they were going to have a significant number of females in the partnership.  She now says she is pro-quota and pro-target and she adds that leaders should be made accountable in order to reach those targets.  Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook and another Davos panellist also added her voice. She added “in the last US election, women represented 20% of the vote in the Senate and every headline in the US said ‘Women take over the senate’. 20% representation of 50% of the population is not a takeover, it is a problem” she said.

Yes, it is truly a tyranny of low expectations.

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Written by Meena Thuraisingham
Director and Principal, Talent Invest

Meena Thuraisingham is a consultant, author, executive coach and thought leader in the area of People and Culture. An organisational psychologist by training, she founded TalentInvest, a niche consulting practice, advising global clients in the UK, Asia and Australia in Capability and Culture. Meena is also a regular speaker internationally on leadership effectiveness and culture change.

Her published books are The Secret Life of Decisions, Careers Unplugged and Derailed!. Get Your Copy Today