We've secured ourselves seats in the Dáil, at the highest courts in the land and in outer space; but take a gawk around your average boardroom table and you'll see few women pulling up a chair. Could gender quotas now be the only way to get more females in the top positions?
Under new rules, which Sports Minister Patrick O'Donovan says he hopes to introduce next year, sporting bodies will face cuts to their State funding unless at least 30pc of their board positions are filled by women. Right now, the GAA, FAI and IRFU have no female representatives on their boards of directors. From 2019, organisations with more than 10 employees will have to ensure that one-third of their boards are made up of women.
But what does this actually mean? It sounds a lot like positive discrimination and do we really need these quotas, or are there alternatives?
Quotas are the insistence, usually as a matter of legal policy, on a fixed number of women being there, in charge, at the top of their professional industries. These quotas are most frequently called-for in politics, business, law and education.
Norway started doing this back in 2003 when it established a 40pc quota for women on its boards. Back at the start of the initiative, women there held less than 7pc of private sector board seats. By 2010, women filled more than a quarter of those seats. Belgium, France, Spain and Italy have all implemented similar initiatives.
Although quotas might be an effective way to address gender disparities in the short-term, their positive benefits are also short-lived. The quota system, or specifically, the women pulled into power because of it, can suffer from the perception that companies are getting the best of a single and specific gender, and not the best individual overall.
It also renders illegitimate the hard work and talent that makes many women as successful as their male counterparts. These women are successful for reasons other than their gender, and the quota system discounts that completely.
In fact, a study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2010 suggested that Norway's forced quotas had negatively affected both performance and board quality in the country.
That's because in order to obey the law, Norwegian companies promoted many women who were less experienced.
I'm not saying that every man in the workplace is engaged in some chauvinistic conspiracy to keep women from the top, but there are certain unconscious biases at play which maintain the status quo just as much as institutional sexism does. This is unfair. The best and most skilled candidate should get the role, regardless of gender.
Times are tough too and it's often women who bear the brunt of this, forever juggling duties like work, childcare, housework, caring for elderly parents, while, in many cases, trying to balance an ever-stretched family budget.
Unconscious bias aside, I think women are falling behind because we're not making it obvious that we are the best person for the job.
I know from talking to women that so many of us lack confidence and while we might do an OK job of outlining our experience in front of the boss, men so often become superhuman in that instance. They talk up their skills to such an extent that the boss can't turn them down, and we need to adopt some of that killer attitude. We also need to use any past rejection to spur us on, instead of deciding the board isn't for us after one failed attempt.
Compulsory quotas are a retrograde step. They mean women are seen to be in a position because of their gender not their ability, and they are pointless because women can get there on their own merit.
At its most extreme, it is saying that, even if the chances are the same, the terms on which the two people compete cannot be equal. That sounds to me like saying one side is inferior.
Basically, it's like we are so afraid of being thought to be racist or sexist that we over-compensate and end up being both.
Mr O'Donovan thinks that installing more women on sporting boards will encourage girls to stay active, but it's slightly wishful thinking, especially considering sports in our schools can be as little as a measly hour each week.
When girls drop out of regular activity during second-level education, I'm not sure they'll be tempted back into the sporting arena just because a few extra women sit in a boardroom.
Quotas are unfair, and will create not only bitterness among men but also call into question whether a woman has the job on merit.
In fact, quotas are so anti-woman it's infuriating that we are considering them at all.