Unconscious bias, quotas and merit

Yes we want more women in management, and on the board. In Australia, in the Federal Liberal Party of Australia (Liberals), the political party that is currently in government, women represent about 20% of the elected representatives, and yes it is 2018.

Many in the Liberals insist they want more women in the party. At the same time, they are strongly resisting the notion of quotas, insisting that merit is the criteria they want to use.

I agree that merit is important. However, in reality, I believe that merit is not the only measure that is currently being used to select candidates for the Libs.

Unconscious bias is playing a role in how the numbers are stacking up.

If you have not heard of the impact of unconscious bias, let me give you an example.

When candidates apply for a position, in politics or a company, when the gender (sex) of the applicant is hidden, the result is that about 50% of candidates chosen will be women.

A perfect example of hidden bias.