You don't really want to live in a meritocracy. You say you don't find many partners in law firms who are women, and this is because they dislike the rat race. Is that not exactly the reason you want more women hired, even quotaed into partner positions? They dislike the rat race, and them being in a position to kill it is probably good for everyone, then.
Unless you approve of the rat race, something about how it fosters "meritocracy". But I can tell you for sure the following: highly successful people are talented, hardworking, lucky, and good at backstabbing. Only two of those attributes are objectively good (and frankly hardworking is only good in combination with talented), one is noise, and the last is downright negative. Rat races enhance the value of the two latter, and make everyone's life miserable.
You just made the argument for women quotas. Also, for promotions at random.
As for the overrepresentation of women in elementary education, you are right of course, we should bemoan it. Precisely because it is a (doubly sad) indication that as a society we undervalue education.