Labour MSP Jenny Marra said it was "high time that Scotland balanced its boards" as she argued that women were underrepresented on Scotland's public sector boards, on 14 June 2012.
Ms Marra called for a 40% quota of women on boards and said many other European nations which Scotland "wished to emulate" such as Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland had quota systems in place.
She said she understood that at the heart of Scotland's boards was a deep rooted culture that the merits of a man were worth far more than a woman.
Ms Marra also said that David Cameron hadn't ruled out quotas for gender representation and asked "when did the Scottish government become less progressive on equality than a Conservative prime minister in London"?
Sports Minister Shona Robison said progress had been made but that she would be the first to admit that more needed to be done.
Ms Robison said the way forward initially would be to have an open event that would look at what had been done and where the barriers were and that recommendations from this event could be taken back to the Scottish government.
She said she had some sympathy for quotas and always had done but it had to be acknowledged that there was not a consensus on this issue and consensus needed to be built.
Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie said whilst she did not support quotas she wanted Scotland to be a place where women and men succeeded and it should be done in a "positive, organic and incremental fashion".
She also said that what mattered now was that this issue did not "come off the radar screen".
Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes said it was time to make a step change and "if not quotas what? and if not now, when?"