I scoffed at these initiatives when hubby's company put it in place, and he was enraged at the potential impact it would have on his advancement in the company.
Honestly, it's changed the landscape of their company in a very short time, and I was surprised to hear how often the guys, even my own husband, who considered himself a fairly 'modern' guy, express surprise that women can do the work and do it well.
With their company being oilpatch driven, there was a real fear when hiring women for just about any position, that they would be harassed, abused, or just plain ignored. Having that mandate to seriously consider women's applications and hire women when they were qualified, changed even my hubby's hiring practices. Now they have women in a broader number of positions, and it's working well.
The only thing that I would caution the government about, is attempting to introduce 50/50 staff makeups, because very few industries have 50/50 gender makeups. There really aren't many women applying for rig work, for example. Or men applying to nursing. So they need to be cautious that they aren't penalizing companies for the natural distribution of gender interests.
let me say though.... I think there's a big difference between a company deciding its future, and a government mandating it.
If hubby was that grudging about company decisions, imagine everyone's attitude when it's not even in company control.