The Critical Mass Marker Approach to Gender Quotas

Dr Jude Browne tackles the philosophical objections that underlie criticisms of the EC proposals to introduce gender quotas to corporate boardrooms.


She calls for a much greater focus to be placed on the structural causes of gender inequality in employing institutions, and outlines an alternative policy model called the Critical Mass Marker approach. The essential features of this approach is that, rather than a blanket gender quota of 40% applied only to corporate boards, quotas would be applied at any level of the workplace where a disproportionately large group were failing to move from one level to the next of an organization.

Besides providing a clear objective for equality and serving as an analytical device for detecting structural injustice, the Critical Mass Marker approach would, Professor Browne argues, be a more effective and proportionate response to blanket quota policies.