Quota voters

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Whereas public companies and the government may trumpet the need for all-women shortlists (your report, 24 December), private enterprise operates in a competitive environment in which promotion by merit alone is essential.

Alex Neil, Cabinet secretary for social justice, wants a “fair and equal Scotland for everyone” and suggests that only an imposed 50:50 gender balance will achieve this.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that anybody appointed to his or her position merely to satisfy a statuary quota is being insulted.

We operate a meritocracy in this country and we should keep it that way. 

Peter Laidlaw

Bramdean Rise

Edinburgh

It is understandable that some men would react with horror and fear at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s idea of having an equal gender split in boardrooms.

But I would implore them to consider the following.

First of all, to try put themselves in the shoes of a woman who may well be as good in the boardroom as a man, but hasn’t had the years and years of “grooming” that her male counterparts have had to know how to put themselves forwards as obvious boardroom candidates.

Some women would be excellent in the board but aren’t brilliant at selling themselves to those who do the hiring. (The same can be said for many men, of course.)

There are occasions when those who are best qualified for a job aren’t necessarily those with the most compelling-looking CV either.

Secondly, sometimes men who make the top-level hiring decisions in companies only have a clear idea of what the men in their immediate circle are like – partly because they may socialise together more than they do with the women who work there.

Have you ever accidentally caught a programme on the radio that you would never have made an appointment to listen to but ended up thoroughly engaged and stimulated by?

There’s a good chance that a quota system could work like this – those doing the hiring could find themselves pleasantly surprised by the abilities and approach of women who were under their noses all along but just not in their immediate orbits.

We need to think ahead for the benefit of all of us.

ANGELA INNES

Dundas Street

Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon wants to see an even male/female split in board rooms, but sees no need for a male/female split in a marriage.

Any mix of men and women can run a business. Just choose the most able and the best blend of qualities. No need for social engineering to make reality match with feminist theory. Quotas merely favour ambitious women as men tend to be naturally more driven to career advancement.

Marriage, on the other hand, unites a man and a woman in a procreative sexual union, maximising the likelihood of stable family life, ensuring that the complementary roles of father and mother are fulfilled.

Same-sex “marriages” fall short in each of these areas. The combination of one man and one woman is vital to marriage. The one area where sex differences really do matter is sex, and marriage is the best way to structure sexual relationships.

If Ms Sturgeon’s underlying objective is an androgynous utopia where there are no discernible differences between the male and female populations, she is in accord with the UK political establishment consensus.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh

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