Software Engineering is different than most fields in terms of how men and women relate. It’s results based and results are easy to measure. You are managing machines when you are programming. It’s you one on one with a machine. The members of the teams rarely relate to each other than weekly meetings.
Software professionals communicate with a common language of engineering. As you know in most cases, the sexes see things differently and use words that are gender oriented. On the other hand engineers learn the language of engineering which is sort of cold and impersonal. At work you are an engineer first and member of a gender second.
One thing I did find was the difference between men and women as managers. Males could care less about your family situation whereas woman are much more curious about your family. Most engineers like to come in do their job and remain anonymous. I didn’t like managers exploring my personal life.
Getting back to quotas. Nobody is really served by ignoring merit when assigning folks to positions where they aren’t qualified. The theory of quotas is if given a chance a relatively unqualified people will grow into the job if they only had a chance. In rare cases that’s true. The other reason for quotas is that those in power choose their friends and people that look like them for plum assignments. It’s not fair some say.
No amount of quotas will cure the problem of people choosing people they like. It’s a classic problem where the boss gives a job to his/her son-in-law or daughter-in-law who is really unqualified. Nobody wants to pushback for hiring a relative. It almost like the quota system, hiring a unqualified person and the organization has to work around the person to get the job done.
Quota systems have been tried often over recennt decades and nearly all have failed. Conceptually it sounds like the right thing to do. In practice they most fail.