If this keeps up, segregated workplaces will look like an increasingly attractive proposition. At the very least, sensible men will avoid certain women at all costs – and certain companies.
A few days ago, several readers alerted me to this article:
Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.
Well, yes. As I’ve mentioned before, the logical solution to the alleged problem that women are routinely sexually harassed at work by men is segregation of the sexes. And if men are placed in a situation whereby they can have their livelihoods ruined by a mere allegation from a woman, this segregation will be self-imposed.
Now, more than a year into the #MeToo movement — with its devastating revelations of harassment and abuse in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and beyond — Wall Street risks becoming more of a boy’s club, rather than less of one.
So women demanded to work alongside men, then complained about how men behaved around them, and are now complaining men are avoiding them. I’m beginning to think there’s a grain of truth in some of those stereotypes.
“Women are grasping for ideas on how to deal with it, because it is affecting our careers,” said Karen Elinski, president of the Financial Women’s Association and a senior vice president at Wells Fargo & Co. “It’s a real loss.”
Having allowed the issue of women in the workplace to be hijacked by lunatic feminists bent on poisoning relations between the sexes, ordinary women are now finding their careers are suffering. Maybe they should have policed their own ranks a little better?
There’s a danger, too, for companies that fail to squash the isolating backlash and don’t take steps to have top managers be open about the issue and make it safe for everyone to discuss it, said Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison.
“If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”
For the SJWs pushing this insanity, this is a feature not a bug. Their aim is to hold arbitrary power over men such that, no matter what they do or don’t do, their lives can be destroyed.
For obvious reasons, few will talk openly about the issue. Privately, though, many of the men interviewed acknowledged they’re channeling Pence, saying how uneasy they are about being alone with female colleagues, particularly youthful or attractive ones, fearful of the rumor mill or of, as one put it, the potential liability.
Men aren’t stupid, and they will create strategies which enable them to politely go through the motions with female colleagues just enough to avoid a discrimination suit, but otherwise keep their distance. Men are very good at doing this with men they don’t like, so it won’t be too hard to do it with women. For example:
A manager in infrastructure investing said he won’t meet with female employees in rooms without windows anymore; he also keeps his distance in elevators. A late-40-something in private equity said he has a new rule, established on the advice of his wife, an attorney: no business dinner with a woman 35 or younger.
The changes can be subtle but insidious, with a woman, say, excluded from casual after-work drinks, leaving male colleagues to bond, or having what should be a private meeting with a boss with the door left wide open.
There are as many or more men who are responding in quite different ways. One, an investment adviser who manages about 100 employees, said he briefly reconsidered having one-on-one meetings with junior women. He thought about leaving his office door open, or inviting a third person into the room.
This amused, however:
Finally, he landed on the solution: “Just try not to be an asshole.”
That’s pretty much the bottom line, said Ron Biscardi, chief executive officer of Context Capital Partners. “It’s really not that hard.”
Oh, you think being nice is going to protect you? Sure, not being an asshole will stand you in good stead with 99% of female employees, but as the article says:
“Some men have voiced concerns to me that a false accusation is what they fear,” said Zweig, the lawyer. “These men fear what they cannot control.”
So they’ll take back control. Instead of having formal events the men will just meet for drinks independently, inviting a few like-minded chaps from other firms around to dispel any charge they’re at a works function.
In this charged environment, the question is how the response to #MeToo might actually end up hurting women’s progress. Given the male dominance in Wall Street’s top jobs, one of the most pressing consequences for women is the loss of male mentors who can help them climb the ladder.
Oh dear. It turns out a movement accusing men of sexual harassment en masse has some drawbacks. Who would have thought?
“Advancement typically requires that someone at a senior level knows your work, gives you opportunities and is willing to champion you within the firm. It’s hard for a relationship like that to develop if the senior person is unwilling to spend one-on-one time with a more junior person.”
I brought this up in my latest podcast. In practice, career progression is made by one-on-one brown-nosing, which is often harder for women to do than men for precisely the reason it may be misconstrued. The answer is to stop using this as a method of personal advancement.
Men have to step up, she said, and “not let fear be a barrier.”
That ship sailed so long ago it’s circumnavigated the globe and is nudging us in the back. Over to you, ladies.