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Female Management Quotas: Key Terms and Phrases

Female management quotas are currently a hot topic in Germany

What is the approach in your company towards having a quota for the percentage of women in management positions? The opinions on this topic are wide and very relevant in that Germany’s coalition has recently agreed to set a 30% target of women for supervisory boards in German stock exchange companies. Here are some opinions which could be raised when tackling the issue within your departments responsible for corporate culture and diversity.(Or make for a potentially heated small-talk discussion in your next business social event!.)

  • “A quota merely treats the symptoms, not the causes of the low representation of women in leading roles”.
  • “Quotas are an important signal to improve the chances of women in the workplace”.
  • “Concentrating on a quota solely in the boardroom risks making it a purely symbolic act. What is needed is systematic support for female workers even at junior recruitment level.”

Key terms and phrases for discussing female management quotas

Discussing female management quotas can involve quite specific vocabulary and there are a few language points to look out for.

  • As an alternative to a fixed quota, why not have a voluntary commitment to gender equality?
  • There needs to be more transparency on the root causes of the share of women in management.
  • There is a need to identify legal and cultural impacts that foster or interfere with gender diversity.

Things to watch out for when discussing female management quotas

  • Use ‘quota’ not ‘quote’. In English, ‘a quote’ (spelt with ‘e’ and pronounced ‘kwoht’) is either a price estimation, or when you cite the words of someone else.
  • Be consistent in your use of the words ‘woman’ and ‘female’. Both have come to be used as a type of adjective. E.g. ‘the share of woman executives’ has the same meaning as, ‘the share of female executives’. There is some argument, however, that using ‘woman’ as an adjective has become more favoured in recent years. There are many articles on this debate, including this one from the NY Times.

By using the correct terms and phrases when discussing female management quotas, you will keep the focus on the important topic instead of causing confusion on what is being said.  Let us know in the comments area below if you have any other suggestions or questions. Want to learn more on how to improve your management skills?  Click here.

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