The latest in the series of ANZ Bank - Karori Rotary business breakfast meetings was held on 19 February with guest speaker Steph Dyhrberg, Wellingtonian Of The Year.
Steph has been recognised for her leadership role fighting sexism and worse in the legal sector. Steph charted her career in law including working for Russell McVeagh 28 years ago starting as a summer intern. Although the work was enjoyable, after 7 years hard work it was made apparent that she was not partner material. Even then a thread of sexism existed, there was a glass ceiling and these conditions were perpetuated by a very evident old boys network. Clearly this culture has never changed until it recently came crashing down.
Steph, who specialises in employment law, has assisted several young women who were assaulted in their work places. Steph sees no reason to doubt these bright, attractive (but not provocative) young women. To make matters worse the scandal was handled badly by the firms. Attempts were made to cover up the matter and the options open to the young women were not explained.
Steph feels driven to try and stop this behaviour but she also recognises that people can learn and are generally not totally evil. Feminism is the drive to recognise the inate right for women to be treated equally and with respect. In addition to the question of basic human rights it just makes no sense to treat women in a way that will diminish their productivity.
This was a difficult topic to tackle but everyone at the meeting came away with a stronger determination to achieve the goals that Steph is fighting for.