I think this quote from an American Physical Society article is an exceptionally clear statement of an important perspective shift, when considering the touchy issue of getting better gender balance in tech/science (emphasis mine):
“Many scientists believe that increasing diversity is a matter of social engineering, done for the greater good of society, but requiring a lowering of standards and thus conflicting with excellence. Others understand that there are deep reasons for the dearth of women (discussed below) wholly unrelated to the intrinsic abilities of women scientists which lead to extra obstacles to their success.
Once one understands the bias against women in male-dominated fields, one must conclude that diversity in fact enhances excellence. In other words, the playing field is not level, so we have been dipping more deeply into the pool of men than of women, and thus have been unknowingly lowering our standards. Returning to a level playing field (compensating for bias) will therefore raise standards and improve our field. Diversity and excellence are fully aligned.“
from http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200907/urry.cfm via Christine Corbett