I wonder if stockholders, investors, and clients are more concerned with making money or with treating everyone nicely and fairly? Those two goals probably aren't mutually exclusive, but what if they are correlated? What if promoting more women ends up cutting profits by 10%? What if firing high-level executives who don't work well with women cuts profits by 10%?
The City has been urged to tackle its culture of sexism following a plethora of sex discrimination cases brought by female bankers and lawyers.It's obvious that the men involved here are pigs. But, as a former customer of Morgan Stanley, I couldn't have cared less how many women were involved in management. I cared about how much money the company made me. If some executive couldn't or wouldn't stop offending women, I'd want to company to make the most profitable choice and fire whoever was contributing least. If the women were less valuable than the man harassing them, then get rid of them; if the man was less valuable, get rid of him. (And, obviously, if any of the harassment was actually criminal (such as assault, battery, rape, or attempted rape) then seek criminal prosecution.)
Julie Mellor, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, called for companies to shake off their "macho" image by carrying out "root and branch" reform in the way they recruited and paid female staff. ...
The settlement includes a $12 million (£6.8 million) payment to Allison Schieffelin, a bond trader who helped launch the joint action six years ago.
The women claimed they were gropped by male colleagues and were sent strippers or breast-shaped birthday cakes in the office.
Morgan Stanley admitted that few women were promoted to its top jobs, but denied discrimination.
Companies aren't designed or intended to make people feel good about themselves, they're designed to make money for their investors. It's the only fair thing for them to do. If you invest money in a company that makes telephones and then the management of that company decides to waste your investment by buying balloons for orphans you'd be pretty upset. On the other hand, if buying balloons for orphans -- or firing sexist managers -- is the profitable way to go in the long run, then so be it. Do it. But leave all the touchy-feely (ha) warm-and-fuzzies at home.
The problem, of course, is that there are laws designed to make it expensive to make some decisions, even if they're the most profitable. So now some women are suing (and winning) and costing the companies even more money. What should they have done? How about quitting and finding another job where they're appreciated more? If they're really that valuable, some other company should be glad to take them away from the competition and treat them the way they want to be treated. The only reason to sue is if you know you can't cut it and aren't worth having around.
And of course some industries -- like rap music -- would disappear entirely without sexism. Should bankers be held to a higher standard than musicians?