Sunday, April 22, 2012

You're Gonna Love This Story From Finland

The land with great gender equality, right? But it also has a law about the right to associate with others which creates slightly different problems from the American ones.

Suppose, for example, that a very old and very fancy organization exists in the financial industry. Call it a club, say. Any man involved in business with a good record and the recommendation of two existing members can apply. The club is hundred years old but not at all decrepit! Indeed, its membership has doubled in the last ten years.

Suppose, moreover, that the purpose of the club is to network, to do business and to create contacts, and suppose that the chairman of the club tells this quite proudly.

Then suppose that he is asked about the possibility that women might be admitted as members of the club, too, and that he answers as follows: "So far women are not members but women have visited here from the very beginning." He then adds: "It's always pleasant when female guests visit so that I get some eye pleasure."

 Mmm. That's not a made-up story but the actual current situation of Helsingin P√∂rssiklubi, Helsinki Stock Exchange Club.

It does not accept women as members. And why? Because the majority of the members would have to vote to allow women in and they have not done so. Indeed, according to the chairman it is the younger men who are most opposed to the admission of women.

Which is not surprising as it is the younger men who would most benefit from the networking the club offers, and the exclusion of women cuts back on the potential competitors.

The comments to the linked article divide fairly equally between those which state (more less irked by that "eye pleasure" comment) that women should be admitted and those which argue that women can start their own club if they want one so much and leave the gentlemen in peace, and what about all those women-only fitness clubs?

The problem with the latter two solutions is the professional nature of the Helsinki Stock Market Club and the smaller numbers of women in business. An all-female club would not offer the same networking opportunities.

 Oh, and one person stated that women are all incompetent and should stay at home.