Breaking the Cycle of Exclusion

After reading last week’s Bloomberg article on the “Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era” - I was in disbelief. Having worked in financial services for 14 years, I have to admit, I was curious as to how our male-dominated industry would respond to increased cultural scrutiny of both sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

If this article (and the ‘Avoid Women at All Cost’ remit it describes) is to be believed, the answer is that we’re moving in the wrong direction altogether. Short-sighted and controversial strategies like the ones discussed not only risk keeping the cycle intact but ultimately exacerbate the problem: fewer women at the top and no change in behavior.

It is a strategy that will also result in much larger failures: companies losing their competitive edge with the best people not being leveraged or retained, irrespective of gender. Companies will only succeed if they can attract and grow their best talent. That talent, unequivocally includes women. Companies that choose to rely solely on one group—gender or otherwise—to help them win, will eventually lose.

So how do we break this cycle once and for all? To start, we all need to step up and use our voices to ensure much needed change. Empowering this shift starts at the very foundation of any organization.

At Liquidnet, this foundation is R.I.S.E. Our mission is to create a workplace that is: Respectful, Inclusive, Safe and Empowering. Most importantly, this was created to protect all employees, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. By upholding these standards, we have created an environment where all of our employees have the opportunity to thrive.

In 2019, it would be great to see more organizations focused on fostering environments for success and not just strategies that, consciously or unconsciously, keep the cycle of exclusion intact.

Jerilyn Medrea, Chief People Officer, Liquidnet

Ellen Gordon