Former DuPont Co. chief Ellen Kullman, who is now on the board of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s, spoke to about 100 women at a gathering in New York.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Ms. Kullman doesn't believe the workplace has improved for women since the 1980s:
After companies promised for decades to fix the work environment for women, former DuPont Co. chief Ellen Kullman is watching her daughter encounter many of the same challenges that she did as a young adult in the 1980s.
The realization “killed me,” Kullman, who now sits on boards including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s, told about 100 women at an event in New York Thursday. “My daughter was surprised when she was faced with it because she was brought up believing the world is now a fair place.”
“What I found is the men close ranks and take care of each other," Kullman, who was at DuPont for more than 25 years, including as CEO from 2009 to 2015, said at the event hosted by Evercore Wealth Management. “There were a few principled men who would tell the truth.”
Kullman now sits on multiple corporate boards and is a co-chair of Paradigm for Parity, a group of firms that seeks to close the gender gap by 2030. Bloomberg LP is a member of the effort. Jewelle Bickford, a partner at Evercore Wealth, is also a co-chair.
At Thursday’s event in New York, feminist icon Gloria Steinem also spoke, offering an optimistic tone in light of the #MeToo movement. Closing the gender gap in the workforce isn’t just a moral issue, but one that improves the economy.
“We talk about equal pay but we don’t also say it’s the biggest economic stimulus this country could have,” she said. “It’s a way better economic stimulus than giving money to bankers and Wall Street like we did in the last crisis. Women are not going to put money in a Swiss bank account, we’re going to spend it.”
Well, I agree with that last remark!
An economy that produces prosperity and good earnings is far superior to government "stimulus" that the Obama administration so lavishly doled out in the last financial crisis.
Fortunately, our economy is strong and getting stronger, especially after the recent tax cuts, that will put more money in the pockets of all American workers, including women.
I don't want to dispute Ms. Kullman's daughter's reports of her own experiences from the front, but there are so many more legal protections for women that I must admit it does strain my credulity to believe that things haven't improved just a little. A young professional woman I asked about this story had an extremely different take on the workplace from Kullman's daughter:
"It's just more of the standard victimhood mentality stuff," she said. Does anyone really believe that nothing has changed for women since the 1980s? My mom told me horror stories of pregnant receptionists at her accounting firm getting reassigned to the back office because pregnancy was considered so 'unprofessional.' I realize I've had a uniquely positive work experience, but surely the broader culture around women/work/family has improved in myriad ways."