An NBR opinion piece from recruiter Pamela Young has drawn a strong response – pro and con – in respect of the sexual harassment issues that arose at Russell McVeagh.
Ms Young runs Growthcurv, an executive consultancy and has wide experience in Australia, New Zealand and Asia in management consultancy and business issues.
Reference in the NBR article was made to the various commentaries and the outlandish sanctions imposed by the university law schools.
Ms Young, recently returned from living in Australia, said she was “shocked to find institutional warfare and finer pointing . .” noting that Russell McVeagh was one her early clients and a “sterling example of quality and professionalism.
“To see people in glass houses shining the spotlight on this one firm and away from themselves, raised questions,” she wrote.
Acknowledging the hot topic of gender issues, but suggested that the scandal belonging to “two drung men and several young women” from the values she said that permeate the legal profession and other sectors, characterised by high incomes and frequent “celebrations”.
Ms Young interviewed 100 leaders across 26 industries in Australia and Asia, reported in Stepping Up.
Among the key findings in the report was that gender inequality is a problem that is
deeply embedded in business, but also in sport, business and religion.
The report also found that ‘male cultures’ dominate companies and stifle female careers.
Similarly, “Queen bees” pull up the ladd or turn their backs on other women.
Importantly, the report and evidence suggests that an individual business (or law firm)
is not responsible for setting the values and establishing the boundaries that are necessary to protect staff.
This is particularly so in high-earning professions like the law, banking, real estate and advertising with a work hard, play hard culture.
Those patters of behaviour that limit gender diversity form a “culture circuit” that is effectively a closed loop network. Circuit breakers are necessary to ensure unacceptable behaviour does not return.
Tips for Gender Diversity
1. See it – Turn the positive values men and women hold about roles in society and at work to your advantage: make the difference count ($) and make it visible.
2. Do it – Have men and women work on achieving gender diversity together. Women don’t need men to ‘fix’ things for them. Woman dominated initiatives alienate men.
3. Respect it – Ladies, don’t bash the men who are genuinely trying to contribute to the change. Men, open your minds to the possibility that the women might have the answer: be sure you are listening not just hearing them.