Gender inequality has a multifactorial background, based on the social roles, economical expediency, cultural stereotypes and bio-psychological diversity. Therefore, the political strategies of the gender equality insurance do not address all the sides of this issue narrowing the attention to the social and economic factors. The attempts to solve the problem by political diktat such as gender quotas can have a negative impact on the equalization and economic well-being of the organization. Moreover, such a governmental intervention in the economic affairs is based on the assumption that without quotas the equality will be violated. From the point of view of legal definitions, the gender equality is the provision of equal rights and duties, similar attitude towards men and women, regardless of their gender, equal salaries, identical working conditions, etc. Therefore, the issue of gender equality is related to the idea of the equal social justice and freedom of the opportunities that is one of the most important values in the USA. Despite the fact that gender quotas are directed at the legalization of the representative level of women and men in corporate boards, the implementation of such quotas can increase the diversity in performance and form the opposite tendency for the gender inequality. Additionally, the quotas system is based on the concept of men a and women equality, which has its own issues. Thus the idea of gender quotas is unviable, and it can be assumed only as a means of political interaction with electorate and getting social support from its feministic part.
The values are the first factor of socio-psychological diversity which affects the attitude towards inequality. The reasons for the increased interest of people to the gender equality is based on the significant biological differences as well as differences in attitude towards social status and goals setting and ways of their achievement. In the majority of cases, politicians and populists state that there is no significant difference in the performance, efficiency or behaviour between men and women, but the number of scientific researches prove the opposite (Oakley 2015, p. 143). The social activity of males is directed at the achievement of some socially significant goals related to leaving their mark in the history and proving that their existence matters. In contrast, women are dominated by a sense of dignity and justice because they are subconsciously preparing for motherhood. In order to become an example and authority for a future child, it is necessary to achieve recognition and respect in society. However, because of modern culture and values, the psychological boundaries between a man and a woman are erased. The corruption of the social roles is assumed as one of the factors of the demographic decline, caused by the sexual dissatisfaction, which, in its turn, leads to the decrease in performance and behavioural issues in both genders (Connell 2014, p. 76). Thus social roles are affecting not only the performance or attitude towards gender, but also the hidden sides of the human relations.
The psychological diversity among men and women can be narrowed to the factors of General Mental Abilities (GMA) and decision–making. The results of the study of the men’s and women’s intellectual abilities show that the number of men at both ends of the normal distribution curve (Diagram 1) significantly exceeds the number of women (Halpern 2013, p. 98). In other words, there are more men among people who have high intelligence and more men whose GMA is lower than normal (Steinmayr et al 2015, p. 168). The results of psychometric studies also show that women have more developed verbal intelligence, and men have more developed visual and spatial one. However, the researches of the category of success, in one or another kind of activity, have determined that it can be caused not only by certain abilities, but also by the correspondence (inconsistency) of the gender role success. In cases where there is a discrepancy between the success in any kind of activity and socially predetermined pattern of gender role, the so-called motive for avoiding success can be observed. Thus in gender, there is no equality, but the diversity, which has been crucial for the survival of humankind and its success.
The political intervention in gender situation can be assumed as an aggressive attempt to make equal those who are not such by their socio-bio-psychological parameters. The main idea of quotas is to attract women to the level of decision-making and prevent such a phenomenon as a glass ceiling. The quota is based on the modern concept of men and women equality, which has developed historically through the increased tolerance and social acceptance. Thus from the point of view of gender equality, the quota means changing one concept of equality into another for women. The classical liberal notion of equality included the notion of “adversarial (competitive) equality”, which was based on providing women with the right to vote as the only significant factor of inequality (Hughes et al 2017, p. 312). The other issues were assumed as those with which any women can cope herself. In other words, it was initially believed that equality could be achieved by providing women and men with the same opportunities and by eliminating formal barriers. However, it was found that the same treatment does not necessarily lead to equal results (Terjesen & Sealy 2016, p. 41). Therefore, under the strong influence of feminism, the other concept of equality has become widespread and supported. The essence of such a position is manifested in the policy of achievement of “equal result and opportunities” (Adriaanse & Schofield 2014, p. 491). The argument is that equal opportunities do not appear only because of the elimination of formal barriers. The complex of hidden barriers as well as direct discrimination does not allow women to achieve the fair attitude towards them in a system of economic relations as well.
Arguments for quotas can be represented by six positions. Firstly, quota for women is a compensatory measure aimed at overcoming the real barriers that prevent women from holding a fair share of corporation board. Secondly, women have the right to equal representation, and their experience is necessary in business. Thirdly, women have issues with prompt and effective decision-making that decreases their chances of obtaining CEO positions. This can be solved by quotas. Fourthly, in a certain historical situation, the existence of a quota system is a sign of a representative democracy. In real life, the process of candidates’ evaluation is carried out by a relatively narrow circle of influential leaders who determine or appoint candidates. Fifthly, submission of quotas can cause conflicts, but only for a short period of time (Cornwall & Rivas 2015, p. 408). Finally, quotas imply the existence of a whole group of women in a corporate board that minimizes the possibility of stressful situation for them, related to the representation in the board as a decoration.
In their turn, arguments against quotas are represented by seven positions. Firstly, quotas contradict the principle of equal opportunities for all since women are given preference. Secondly, there is a number of women who do not want to work on responsible or laborious jobs just because they are women. Thirdly, quotas increase a chance of hiring women because of their gender, not because they are qualified. This leads to the situation when more qualified candidates are discarded, and the well-being of an organization is undermined (Cornwall & Rivas 2015, p. 411). Fourthly, quota is undemocratic by its nature as it limits the possibility of obtaining higher positions due to the gender factor. Fifthly, implementation of quotas creates significant conflicts within the organization and decreases the level of gender tolerance. Sixthly, employees, who had previously worked on the organization and were a tax-payers, will increase the percent of unemployed. In their turn, the organizations can incur monetary losses that also decreases the taxes income (Kabeer 2016, p. 312). Lastly, such policy ignores the gender diversity and pretends to equalize everyone. This is similar to tying the extra weight to the boxer in order to put him in the “equal” conditions as the person who has never been engaged in boxing.
Therefore, the gender blind policy of quotas can be harmful for the economy and well-being of the common citizens, including women. The main position should be directed at the provision of opportunities for the work in accordance with the skills, not the gender. This can be assumed as a policy of gender-freedom.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the attempts of gender equalization, provided by government, ignores the scientifically approved evidence of gender diversity that can affect the performance and make it possible to state that male and female are not equal. Furthermore, there is no hierarchy between them. Moreover, quotas in the corporation board can have a prolonged negative impact both on the social and economic situation in the country decreasing the taxes income and increasing the amount of unemployed. Therefore, it was assumed that the most effective policy should be directed not at the quotation, but at the provision of the fair evaluation of candidates, according to their talents and skills.
Diagram 1. The distribution of the GMA by the gender factor.