If quotas are a dirty word, how about targets?

I wrote back in April 2017:

This week I caught myself in conversation lamenting at the lack of women represented in leadership and government. In my despair I cried “and dare we mention quotas.”

Well perhaps it is time to mention them again. Here are five quotes I have pulled together which gives five reasons why we should dare to go there.

  1. Choice
Instead of preventing meritocracy, as some people fear, I believe that quotas help promote it by gradually widening the choice of candidates.
Vicky Pryce, Chief economic adviser at CEBR and co-author of ‘Why Women need Quotas’
  1. Accountability
What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens – whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.
Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, critic
  1. Accounting
If you had parity of employment in Africa you would raise GDP by 12%.
Melinda Gates, American philanthropist

4. Sustainability

Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.
Kofi Annan, eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations 1997 to 2006
  1. Just because
Countries with higher levels of gender equality have higher economic growth. Companies with more women on their boards have higher returns. Peace agreements that include women are more successful. Parliaments with more women take up a wider range of issues – including health, education, anti-discrimination, and child support.
Ban Ki-moon, eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations 2007 to 2016

Just six months after I compiled these quotes the World Economic Forum published findings that it will take us 217 years to achieve gender equality. I do still believe that sometimes in order for us to get there quicker we need to set quotas. However considering the snail pace we are moving and the resistance we face do we need to soften our language and call for ‘targets’?

Targets can move and are adaptable, if there are not met new ones are set.

In my mind if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck then we all know what it is.

Yet language is key here, and we need to bring key players and leaders to the table. If for far too long they have been resisting quotas, let’s give them some targets instead.