The consequences of #metoo

Oprah and Harvey Weinstein

A year ago, women were walking on the red carpet, dressed in black designer dresses to campaign against sexual harassment against starlets. It was a moment in time of pure self indulgence, when women who made millions in the movies wanted sympathy for the way they chose to advance their careers. After all, everyone who went to Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room knew his reputation. For many of them, if that was what it took to advance your movie career, well so be it.

Like everything, there are unforeseen consequences, and these are now being identified in the corporate world. Women simply cannot have it all ways. Sad for ambitious women with real talent, but there it is. quote.

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.
In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?
Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.
end quote.

This was inevitable. The pushback against sexual harassment in the workplace started back in the 1980s, and most younger men would not dream of treating women inappropriately at work nowadays. The actions of a few very wealthy, self indulged women have made life much harder for women trying to make it in the corporate world, because men steer clear of them with the aid of a 10 foot pole. quote.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $US1.5 billion ($1.1 billion).
This is hardly a single-industry phenomenon, as men across the Western world check their behaviour at work, to protect themselves in the face of what they consider unreasonable political correctness — or to simply do the right thing.
The upshot is forceful on Wall Street, where women are scarce in the upper ranks. end quote.

In a few short weeks, decades of progress for women in the corporate world was reversed, and now women are seen as an even bigger employment risk than they were before. quote.

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 boys’ club, rather than less of one.

“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.”

end quote

Yes it is, but seriously, what did anyone expect? That men would just laugh off real threats to their careers and livelihoods and keep in close contact with female colleagues, thus putting themselves at risk? That was never going to happen. quote.

“If men avoid working or travelling 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.” end quote.

Sydney Morning Herald

I’m fairly sure most men would take the risk. Sexual discrimination will not land anyone in jail, or ruin their careers. Mentoring a woman may be a disaster waiting to happen.

The only losers in the #metoo era are women. Those starlets in black Chanel on the red carpet really do have a lot to answer for.