Goldman Sachs' Side Of The Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Jacki Zehner, by CBS News

The three women suing Goldman Sachs for gender discrimination are at the centre of a big question. Who is to blame for the glaringly apparent lack of women on Wall Street?

The women say Goldman, and have more than 15 reasons why. (To see them, click here.)

But in response, they will probably hear an argument like Jacki Zehner’s from Goldman’s defence.

Zehner, a former Goldman Partner, wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg that defends Goldman’s treatment of women.

She isn’t speaking for Goldman Sachs of course, she left the firm years ago, but she’s built the start of a good defence for the firm.

Here are her points (our summaries are bolded):

  • Goldman has made an effort to hire, retrain, and promote women. “When a decade of initiatives [to hire, retain and promote women] failed to produce the intended results, Goldman started a task force to focus on the issue, engaging people throughout the firm as well as outside consultants.”
  • Goldman has more women in it’s top ranks than many others. Other Wall Street firms’ numbers are comparable or worse. “The lawsuit cites the following Goldman statistics: Women are 29 per cent of vice presidents, 17% of managing directors, 14% of what Goldman calls partners, and four out of 30 people on the management committee. In fact, these numbers are among the best of any major Wall Street firm, and any large corporation in general.”
  • Three women do not indicate “systemic” gender discrimination, cited in the suit. “This case might be about three women whose negative experiences are valid without being symptomatic of a larger problem. I have seen plenty of talented people, not just women, get screwed over.”

In essence, everyone’s favourite defence, “everyone else did it too.”

In response, the women have these 15 stories of life at Goldman >

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