I support the proposed ‘women-on-boards directive’ not only for economic reasons. It does not make sense for any corporation to utilise in its production only half of the machines it has available. This applies for mechanical as well as for human “machines”. Women were excluded from operational and decision-making posts for ideological reasons. These acted as barriers to entry that inhibited the full development of productive potential in societies, firms and governments. Quotas were the tool to overcome this barrier. Once equality of gender opportunity and its effective implementation are ensured, chances for an improvement in productivity are improved. Gender quotas automatically become archive material. They have been effective at operational levels. They will be equally so for executive, decision-making positions. I speak from experience. In the Malta Labour Party, we introduced quotas for women in elections to the general conference and the national executive. Within fifteen years, quotas were no longer needed. Gender parity was being automatically achieved, via the “normal” electoral process for these institutions. There was a clear improvement in their functioning. However we did not introduce quotas in the party bureau, a mistake. Dominated by men, its effectiveness remained open to question.

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