There is lots of hand-wringing going on again about gender equality in the executive suite the boardroom, and particularly the political arena.

All thinking people recognise the value of ensuring half our population has the opportunity to maximise the return to themselves and the community from their education, skill, determination, and ideas. The flip side, the one we are not allowed to talk about without being labeled sexist, is the social and financial cost of ensuring that equality, who should bear it, and under what circumstances sanctions should apply.

The initiative by the Australian Institute of Company Directors to mentor “board ready” women is terrific, and should be widely supported, but the regular discussion in regulatory circles of proscribing numbers is badly misplaced if the objective is the performance of our boards, rather than just some objective to achieve numerical equality.