Quotas are wrong

Notwithstanding the fact that Lesley Riddoch’s apparent support for 40 per cent female boardroom quotas is fundamentally illiberal (Perspective, 26 January), there are serous doubts it will produce the long term and sustainable increase in women’s representation that it desires.

The Norwegians, who pioneered this law in 2006, quickly found a small clique of so-called “golden skirts” were in massive demand from firms coerced into recruiting new directors.

Indeed, executive Mai-Lill Ibsen held more than 185 boardroom seats at one point and has recently spoken out against the scheme as being patronising and counterproductive.

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Many Norwegian firms changed their legal status to avoid complying and there is much anecdotal evidence to ­suggest those who were appointed were at best token attendees at meetings.

As a relatively young man making his way in the world, I ask what kind of ­message does it send that the state is ­willing to legislate to allow a ­potentially less qualified individual preferential treatment?

Depressingly, this type of thinking is gaining more and more currency in modern ­political discourse. It is discrimination, positive or otherwise, and mealy-mouthed platitudes to “equality outcomes” should not disguise this.

Andrew House

Cumberland Street