Gender quotas aim to increase the representation of women in decision-making and higher-ranked positions of public and private institutions. In gender-neutral terms: they seek a similar representation of genders. Critiques against these measures mention for instance the undermining of meritocracy and, in academia, that female workers could be overworked hampering their career progress (here). Defenders say that quotas can contribute to equality of results by compensating for structural barriers such as “patriarchal socialization, gendered social roles and expectations'' (here).
A recent study published in Nature Climate Change suggests that climate policy interventions can be more effective with progressive quotas that aim at 50% representation of both genders. The authors conclude that the presence of female representatives is not directly responsible for these outcomes, but rather the mixed composition of having both genders in such interventions (here). Other studies have also shown that female representatives lead to more stringent climate change policies (here).
For the case of Earth&Space Sciences, a recent survey indicated that female scientists tend to support gender quotas because gender bias impacts this group more negatively than their male colleagues. Yet, given the male dominance in senior career levels, authors conclude that those feeling less impacted by the negative consequences of gender bias are the ones in a position to tackle the problem. These results stress the necessity of raising awareness across all seniority levels to attract and retain more women in geosciences (here).
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