Quotas are not the answer. We have seen quotas to achieve more women on the board and joining political parties. But despite some initial successes in Scandinavia in achieving better female leadership of businesses and even of political parties, Denmark now has less female board members than it did after the initial quota legislation was introduced.
Achieving diversity or equal opportunities cannot be a numbers game. Selection of people cannot be based on their gender or skin colour. It has to first and foremost be about skills, competence, attitude and values. But to be sure that we are genuinely employing people for those attributes, the biggest issue we have to tackle is our own unconscious bias.
I remember talking to a Professor of HR about this issue and said that I was sure that my children - whose peers at school were from varied ethnic backgrounds - would not be biased against people with a different skin colour. But she said that we are all biased; it is difficult to avoid and that our children, even if they are skin colour blind, will have other biases created by our backgrounds and upbringing.
And so recruiters need more tools to help remove this bias. And there are an increasing number of technology tools to help with that. The challenge then is having attracted employees from more varied backgrounds, how do businesses then become more inclusive so that they naturally select, develop and promote a genuinely diverse workforce without playing the numbers game.
Most organisations accept that diversity is a good thing, and many are striving to bring in people with a range of backgrounds. Many, though, have not moved beyond the concept as any more than a box-ticking exercise which looks good in the annual reports. Inclusion is not as simple a concept as diversity or equal opportunity, and is not as easy to measure. But it is on the issue of inclusion, in the real experiences of those in the workplace, where the next phase of the equality struggle will be fought.