"That the true definition of gender diversity is about balance."

I'm not sure I agree with quotas, I'm not sure I agree with women's only business networking and I'm not sure I agree that 50:50 is really the right balance.

I do know that during my time as a consultant I spent many hours around tables as the token female, being apologised to when the men swore or made seemingly derogatory remarks. And I know that this just didn't seem quite right.

It takes a tribe to manage my life: nannies, children, step-children, grandparents, husband, me – and all with a generous swag of technology ever-ready to step in and take charge. Somehow there's a happy equilibrium - most days - that means we can get life done, and pull off full-time jobs.

My expectation is that we all pull our weight: we've gone back to the halcyon days of child-rearing where everyone lends a hand. I didn't decide this, I expected it, because I also expected to be able to work, and my husband had the same expectation.

So I became fascinated by the idea of balance, and that our natural tendency should be towards it. Yet it's so much easier said than done. We don't really know what it looks like, and it's actually immensely personal. Balance to me might be a nightmare to my colleagues, but it's my responsibility to be happy with the goals I set and the balance I want to achieve.

In many ways there's a balance of support and desire that play off each other in a constant tension that enables our ability to participate effectively at home and work. Often though, despite a strong desire to participate in both, the support and process just falls behind. That's what's not good enough.

If I desire to participate, the business world should be falling over itself to get me in, to benefit from all the different ways of thinking that a balanced workforce provides. Yet somehow this doesn't happen. Working part-time requires a business case; people popping out to take kids to sport cop sideways glances. Why can't we just accept that everyone needs to get stuff done sometimes?

To make this work it requires everyone to do it. I currently work in a pretty exceptional environment where there is great flexibility, yet I still try not to be the mum whose kid gets sick. But he does, and I'm lucky we can tag team among my tribe to nurse him back to health.

So that's the point then. If everyone commits to a bit more of a tag team effort and gets comfortable with, and owns the balance and goals in their own lives, I might not be the token female. We might find natural equilibrium on boards. We might not need quotas and women's networks.

That feels like it's a long way off, so until then I expect business schools to create communities of support, businesses to seek out talent and diverse people and for boards to reflect the shareholders they serve…and for now, those bl**dy quotas might just have to do (yes, I can swear too).​

Lean In is a new series authored by alumni to provide an "in their own words" perspective on gender in the workplace. Lean In will focus on themes such as work/life balance, women in leadership roles, workplace (in)equality, ambition and opportunities. We want alumni to use this space to talk candidly about issues we all think about but rarely discuss publicly. We are looking for alumni submissions, so if you are interested in writing a piece please email Alumni Relations Communications Coordinator, Gabrielle Naglieri, g.naglieri@unsw.edu.au