The ‘merit’ based argument is steeped in bias and subjectivity. Merit is not sufficient to be promoted. If it were, there’d be more women at the top. Merit is evaluated through a lens conditioned to look for packaging. The package includes a direct, confident, authoritative style. It includes being able to defend yourself in a way that rarely comes easily to women. It requires being comfortable evaluating the world through the lens of status rather than connection. It’s a trap women need to be wary of.
If your recruitment process is selecting more men for positions than women, examine it closely.