Leverage off the quota system: become the token female


There is a divide in the businesswomen’s community on whether or not there should be a quota system in place for recruiting women to executive levels and boards.

Some claim it is the only way women will achieve equal opportunity in the world of business, while others believe it discriminates against men and will also lead to the ‘token female’ syndrome.

Regardless of your view, it is evident that trying to secure more women in C-Suite level positions and on boards is currently the ‘cool thing to do’ – not to mention that it is also the smart thing to do (when it comes to business productivity and the bottom line).

And even if you disagree with quotas it would be very shortsighted to reject an opportunity because it is linked to a quota.

Rejecting a board position — and making that rejection a public statement that you don’t agree with quotas — can have long-term harmful effects on your career. The business world is a very small one, and you could tarnish your brand for turning the opportunity into a public protest.

Instead, embrace all opportunities for inclusion and make it your mission to change the status quo quietly, powerfully and from within.

Taking a board position as a result of quotas is a great way to get your foot in the door and learn how things are run, then — when the time is right — bring on other females you know would do well on the board.

If there is a speaking opportunity or C-suite level role for which women are being more favourably considered… then take it. It is what you do IN the role or position that will have the most impact for women around you and it is up to you to prove to the company the value of having women involved (quotas or not).

There are also very genuine companies out there who are implementing a quota system to help stamp out the very suffocating ‘boys club’ mentality that exists in some management levels and boards. Again, this is an opportunity to show them your skill set and influence in that role.

Remember that one position leads to another. You are just passing through… it isn’t for life. Take the opportunity, learn what you can and turn being a ‘token female’ into being a powerful force in that company.

About Amanda Rose

Founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit

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