pant at many financial-services conferences,” she added.
In the blog series, the executive recalls talking with a group
of men at an industry event, one of whom “made a joke about
raping me; the other men in the circle either laughed or said
nothing … . I have many personal experiences with sexual
harassment, assault and discrimination, and almost every
woman I know who has worked in financial services for an
extended amount of time has her own set of stories.”
A key motivation for Dreizler’s writings on harassment is “the
big gap between what women and men perceive,” she said in
an interview. “While this may make sense, it’s frustrating for
women on the receiving end of harassment.”
A recent Investment Advisor/ThinkAdvisor poll completed
by over 1,350 respondents bears this out. The majority of
female survey participants, 59%, say the physical harassment
of women is somewhat or very common in the industry vs.
just 27% or men. Most men taking the poll, 73%, believe the
physical harassment of women is uncommon or nonexistent
in financial services vs. 41% of women.
“I’d like men in industry to really understand the depth and
breadth of harassment, assault and discrimination that happens in financial services, and that’s why I thought I needed
to tell stories ... that would resonate with them,” Dreizler said.
In this publication’s poll, the vast majority of women, 80%,
believe the verbal harassment of women is somewhat or very
common in financial services vs. less than half, 48%, of men.
Only 20% of women say this behavior is uncommon or nonexistent in the industry vs. 52% or men.
In addition to the gap in perceptions of harassment and
assault, “Women do not talk about [these issues] generally
because it is dangerous to our careers,” Dreizler said.
“That’s why I thought about how I could make that leap for
men not participating in this harassment to what women face.
I could only do that by collecting the stories anonymously” and
sharing them online, she explained.
“We are not ready to talk about [these issues] as an industry.
But I do not want the harassment topic in financial services to
be a 2019” discussion topic, Dreizler added. “I hope it is a start
to the conversation.”
What to Do
The industry would do well to begin improving its treatment
of women by looking at what goes on at conferences. “So much
bad behavior happens at these events, so it’s a great place to
reverse the trends,” Dreizler said.
Conference organizers “have a responsibility to create and
maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all participants,” she explained. Plus, they should have codes of conduct
that attendees, sponsors, speakers and staff must agree to.
XY Planning Network, which Alan leads, has an anti-harassment policy for its conferences. He says this approach
was prompted by his wife’s experience. Cambridge Investment
Research recently instituted a code of conduct, too.
This publication’s survey finds that both women and men
agree on such reforms. A clear majority, 87%, of those completing the poll says events, firms and industry groups should have
clear policies/programs to stop harassment/bad behavior, do
more to promote women and support diversity, including quotas to boost board diversity, and take other measures.
Most, 71%, say the industry should end mandatory arbitration and give employees the right to sue employers if they
experience sexual harassment on the job. Over 300 survey
respondents commented on other specific steps the industry
should take; several described the need for mandatory continuing education on sexual harassment with penalties for inappropriate conduct, for instance.
Source: Online Investment Advisor/ ThinkAdvisor poll conducted from 11/9–11/19, 2019. Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.
How common is the physical harassment of
women in the industry?
How common is the verbal harassment of
women in the industry?
WOMEN MEN TOTALRESPONDENTS
Very common 4% 14% 7%
Somewhat common 23% 45% 29%
Uncommon 64% 38% 57%
Nonexistent 9% 3% 7%
Very common 10% 29% 15%
Somewhat common 38% 51% 42%
Uncommon 48% 19% 40%
Nonexistent 4% 1% 3%