Case Study 1: Gender Issues at Oz Industries “I see there is a push to get more women on boards’,…

Case Study 1: Gender Issues at Oz Industries “I see there is a push to get more women on boards’, said Gina Zigomanis to on-one in particular. ‘A good thing too’, responded Gail Wilson, HR manager for Oz Industries. ‘Gender inequality in the workplace should not be tolerated. I think the number of women appointed to the board of directors of Australian companies is a disgrace.’‘I agree Gail, there should be more women on boards’, added Gina.Mark Douglas, Oz Industries CEO, turn in his chair to directly face the two women sitting opposite. ‘Everyone agrees with that providing the appointments are made on merit.’ ‘Hear hear’, added Todd DeVries, marketing manager. ‘If women are appointed on the basis of merit no-one will object. But to appoint someone to the board just because they are a woman is wrong.’ ‘Agree’, interjected Britney Pearson, CFO. ‘A company is in the business of making a profit. It does not exist to implement some feminist agenda. Its responsibility is to its shareholders.’‘I can’t believe this. Everyone knows that Australian boards are simply clubs for old boys. Without legislation to enforce quotas nothing will change’, snapped Gina. ‘I am with you Gina’, Gail said enthusiastically. ‘It’s time for companies to “walk the talk” –change the gender mix of boards or face a quota.’“Late assignments will attract a penalty of 10% (of assignment mark) mark deduction per day of delay. If you delay, notify the coordinator with the proof of the delay (e.g. sick-sheet etc…) and a draft of whatever you did on assignment before or by the due date”. The course Coordinator will only allow extension if the excuse is justified and evidence is provided. It is in your best interest to submit timely assignments. Assignments delayed by two weeks or more will not be marked. Read the case study carefully and answer the questions carefully. 2‘I disagree’, snapped back Britney. ‘I believe it is possible to achieve a better gender balance on boards without quotas.’ ‘How can you say that Britney? All the evidence shows that the representation of women on boards is so low it is embarrassing.’ ‘Quotas are a short-term fix. They are cosmetic. If you force women on to boards, you risk having marginalized “token” directors instead of “real” directors who make the decisions.’ ‘What about the fact that a high proportion off male directors is related to company share price performance?’ ‘Correlation is not causation’, interjected Mark.‘It is also a fact’, added Todd, ‘that not all women favour quotas because they see them as demeaning their own achievements.’‘I agree, Todd’, said Britney. ‘Quotas are politically correctness gone mad.’ ‘This is not about political correctness, it is about fairness’, Gail responded angrily.‘Come on Gail’, snapped Britney. ‘All quotas do is reinforce the stereotypical view that we women are not as good as managers as men.’ ‘If you legislate for quotas –what about a board quota for those with disabilities, gays and lesbians, Asians, elderly workers…? Quotas are a bit of social engineering designed to help white, middle-class females.’‘Mark, how could you say that?snarled Gail. ‘It is well recognized that most boards are made up of white, middle-aged men with a private school education –they don’t call it an old boys’ club for nothing.’ ‘I am in favour of targets, not quotas. What quotas do is put women down and promote mediocrity. Too many women believe they deserve it –why should they be appointed to a board if they are not prepared to earn it?’ said Mark. “The number of female directors is increasing. I agree gender diverse boards add value, but I am strongly opposed to quotas. Companies should set targets and formulate clear policies on how they plan to meet them.’‘Make sense’, added Britney. ‘To me, quotas treat the symptoms, not the cause.’‘I am sorry, but I cannot accept that point of view –nothing will change without mandatory quotas’, replied Gail. ‘Failing to recruit from a more diverse talent pool is bad for the company, its shareholders, and the public in general.’‘Well’, said Gina, ‘I am tired of the stalling, women have been too patient for too long. It is time that the government introduced quotas for women.’‘You and Gail are entitled to your viewpoint, but I don’t want to be patronized. I want to be appointed on the basis of my ability’, snapped Britney.(Source: Stone, R. J., 2014)

Questions

1. Should governments approve quotas for women directors of boards or not? Explain your answer.

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