Not that long ago, the Financial Times newspaper held a business conference in a swish hotel in London where a man on the stage asked the mostly female audience to do something I was not expecting.

Raise your hand if you support quotas for women on boards, he said, and in a flash, most did. Ten or even two years ago, I doubt so many hands would have shot up so quickly in a room like that, full of women from the City of London.

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