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Thoughts of the Week

By Jeffrey M. Weiner, Chairman & CEO, Marcum LLP

 

Women in the Workplace

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Women in the Workplace
 

Marcum is committed to maintaining a workplace environment where women and men from diverse backgrounds and cultures can find meaningful career opportunities and become thriving professionals who succeed and who contribute to the success of our clients and our firm. A place where women and men can work together productively, in a culture of mutual support and respect, and rise to the highest levels of our profession.

We haven't been reading much about this kind of thing this week.

Recent headlines about sexual harassment and possibly criminal abuse of women in and around the workplace are extremely disturbing - particularly as more and more companies are making it a priority to figure out ways to ensure that women have an equitable chance to advance and succeed in their careers. Marcum is certainly among them.

Since before I joined the workforce, women have been equal to men. When I was in college studying accounting, men and women were 50/50 in terms of college enrollment. When it came time to get my first job in accounting, again, 50/50 men and women. Women have been part of the workplace and the competition for advancement for as long as I can remember. Marcum hired our first flex-time professional back in the 90's. Yes, a woman, who later went on to be a partner in our firm, and on a flex-time basis, when other accounting firms hadn't even heard of the concept.

Against this backdrop, we are gearing up for the annual Marcum Women's Forums later this month. We launched the Marcum Women's Forum in New York City last year as an outgrowth of our Firm's Diversity & Inclusion Program. This year we are holding them in three cities.

We start in San Francisco on October 20, with "Safe and Sound: Smart Choices for Savvy Women." The program reprises our debut program in New York last year and will feature Environmentalist Erin Brockovich (yes, that Erin Brockovich) and Jeanne Rizzo, president of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. They will be followed by two partners from Marcum's Cybersecurity Practice group, discussing how women can keep themselves safe when traveling away from home.

Our New York City event on October 27 - "Women Having a Voice: Our Health, Our Earth & Our Strength" - will come next. Chelsea Clinton (yes, that Chelsea Clinton) will be the featured speaker, joined by Jeanne Rizzo (back by popular demand) and Lisa Garcia from Earthjustice.

Then Boston gets its turn on October 30, with motivational speaker Alison Levine, a best-selling author and team captain of the first American women's expedition on Mt. Everest, on the same "Safe and Sound" theme as San Francisco. Jeanne Rizzo will complete her Marcum circuit with this event, and our cybersecurity advisors will complete the agenda.

What all three of these events have in common is that they focus on topics that are essential to women's personal and professional well-being. Kind of the opposite of what we're reading about in the news these days.

For a special report on the Women's Forum (coincidence!) for the Economy and Society in Paris on Oct. 5 and 6, the New York Times interviewed women from around the world about challenges they face in the workforce. This quote from a woman in the Netherlands seems to sum it up:

"Being taken seriously and accepted as a human being and not pointed as 'a woman' for whatever it is I am doing, like as if it was some kind of genetic disease... As a young woman, it would be much appreciated to be looked at first of all for the goals I accomplish throughout my life rather than for my gender, body or name. The greatest help would be to be treated equally as any other man on the planet. No more, nor less than that."

Hopefully, the current spotlight on sexual harassment and the fallout for those who perpetrate it, particularly those in a position of power, will help change the culture of vulnerability that prevents many women from advancing in their careers - or worse. Humanity needs to be right up there alongside profitability as a metric of success.

If you'd like more information about any of the Marcum Women's Forums or other Marcum events, you can check out our Firm calendar at www.marcumevents.com.

Thanks and have a great weekend, everybody.



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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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