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A quota is a quantitative requirement that certain groups (such as women) be represented in the composition of a larger body of people (such as employees, board members or conference speakers). People and organizations who want to promote greater diversity may institute a quota in order to counteract biases which would otherwise exclude marginalized groups from participation.
People who are opposed to such quotas often assume that this will lower the overall quality of the group, by preferentially selecting candidates on a basis other than "merit". However, academic research has not supported this assumption.