33 years old woman got a job at the Garden City, one of the largest brokerage firms of Wall Street. As an apprentice, she had to do the worst part of the work. This woman’s name is Hurwitz. The environment was clearly hostile, particularly to women. The branch manager after admitted the fact that women’s pay was less than the men’s one, and there was a cruel atmosphere of sexual banter in the office. Hurwitz finally complained to a manager about the situation, but things got worse. There were sex jokes and women hadn’t any opportunity to step up. Like some of you already imagine, she quit after a year.
But just recently seems that things are going to change. In fact, more women in entertainment industries and others are starting to come forward, talking about their harassment and discrimination experiences in their workplaces. And, comparing this with what happened in Wall Street, it’s been treated more relevantly. In the nineteen- nineties similar stories are countless, and sadly just one third of them has been reported, or even less. That time, work proved to be hard on women, who had less opportunity to access prestigious training programs and were given less time to study for tests than their male colleagues.
After this episodes Wall Street companies have implemented some specific trainings to stem harassments, but the percentage remained about as much as the past. It seems then that it gets out of the headlines, and they just revert to the norm in short amount of time. Financial firms are also pioneers in using arbitration, rather than the courts, to settle workplace cases. Private arbitration is of course more favorable to employers, and keeps the disputes out of the eye of the press, which is a bonus.
Some experts on the matter say that arbitration may be in fact the real reason that Wal Street has not moved on, and sometimes still goes backwards. That is because they made an institution of the ability to keep a problem out of the public view. Of course, it would be understandable how after years and years of this strategy, people would start to feel entitled to do whatever they want without fearing the consequences. Another example of this kind of industries is Silicon Valley, that following Wall Street example have been insisting for a while on arbitration agreements with employees.
A little but important step forward is, though, the bravery increasing among today’s women, who are starting to come forward and lodge harassment changes against high profile men. Finally, technology has also been proven to be very useful to collect evidence, and this makes it harder for companies to ignore complaints like they did in the past. The first, most important suggestion the experts want to share with this kind of brave and self-aware women, is to hire a lawyer, because there will be the necessity to go through the company’s system to obtain a concrete acknowledgement.