Friday, 11 February 2011

Sexism in the South West: no I don't like Spring Rolls!

It has taken me sometime to think about this blog as what happened is (a) quite un-pc (b) controversial and (c) supposedly offensive.  I have decided it would be best to simply state exactly what happened:

It's a Tuesday evening. It has been a long day at work.The firm or more correctly the Private Client Dept is hosting a very important seminar to potential referrers i.e. IFAs, valuers, accountants, pen pushers who deal with numbers and have been let out into the world for the evening.You get the idea. The first speaker 'Partner-who-wrote-the-book-about-IHT'(he actually did write The Book apparently) is droning on about wills or something and gives the following advice:

"advisors should monitor executor appointment when the married couple have nominated each other. In later life this may become inappropriate, especially in the case of the woman"

and without further clarification moves on. Odd comment you might think, without clarification. Maybe its something to do with the fact that women live longer, tend to be the younger person in a relationship and therefore are more likely to be the bereaved than the recently deceased? I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and go back to pretending to be listening to worked through tax calculations (seriously who enjoys this stuff?!!)

The female trainees look glancingly over to the one female IFA in the room. She is writing a note to her colleague but doesn't look annoyed. The rest of the room hasn't even noticed. Everything continues as normal.

The other two speakers finish and we move on to question time. Step into the ring, Wrote-the-book. Up goes the hand of female IFA's colleague... no one sees the danger:

Colleague: "Sorry to revisit, but when you were talking about monitoring the appointment of executors, why is it especially important in the case of the woman?"

WTB: " Well very often it is the husband who deals with the finances and women find it difficult to deal with that sort of thing. Much more so when bereaved. It might be better to appoint someone more suited"

No kidding. Actually said that. Unsurprisingly female IFA complained. Although not to the point where she didn't want to instruct us (!)

I am not really what you would call a feminist.I don't really understand the point. I know there are still a lot of inequalities between men and women and traditionally I would currently be married with 2 rugrats and a sproglet on the way. I also know that men and women ARE different and every person has their individual non-gender specific strengths and weaknesses. I actually see any inequality as a challenge,  motivation to prove that I can hold my own in a man's world. Give me some shoulder pads, Lady Thatcher, eat your heart out!

But that was too far. I did a maths A Level thank you very much and have been Treasurer for several different societies (my brain may have been a little too pickled to do proper accounts but we didn't go overdrawn!!). I may even go as far as to say that if women had been in charge of the Banks the economy may have been saved (due to the immense amount of shopping that would have been happening with bonuses that big!)

I thought it was the most inappropriate comment I would hear in that environment.

Until later in the evening when the head of Private Client asked me if I wanted him to put one of the rather phallic canapes I was serving in my mouth. Twice.

If this is how all of the men in Private Client act something tells me I wont be heading there any time soon!!!

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