Imagine the hypothetical situation of being CEO of a large company. First, I just want to say congratulations on the promotion. Now, picture you have a huge sales opportunity with a company in a country which does not respect woman in the workplace. They may see female employees and ask them to go fetch them some coffee or they may just flat out refuse working with them. Which is more ethical: sending only men for the deal (even if your top sales person is a women) or refusing business with someone who would not respect your female employees.
*giving you time to think about it*
*just a bit more time*
Good job on that thinking.
My knee jerk, feminist (meaning equality for both genders, not that big bad connotation which has become associated) reaction is the second choice. But consider this: not doing business with said hypothetical companies would cause your company to lose money and in turn you may have to lay off employees or just not have as many employees. While I greatly believe in stakeholder theory and in turn want to value and respect employees, wouldn’t the greatest responsibility to employees be to keep them as employees.
The ideal situation would be to send men to the company in said country and the women to other countries willing to respect women. Unfortunately, that may not be a plausible option. While the situation is unfair to women for obvious reasons, think of it from the view point of the men in the company. They would know they are not being chosen based off the merit of their work but because of their gender. Some men may be fine with that but for many it could be a damage to the ego. It can also make the men feel they do not need to work as hard as the women because they will still be chosen for the deals with certain countries.
If the company is unwilling to respect me as a female, is that okay because it is their culture? Does that require me to still respect the cultures customs? Are we able to say it is ethically wrong to treat someone as unequal just because of their gender? I say no because some cultures believed (believe?) in human sacrifice and people would not just say “Oh, it’s their custom. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
Another thing to consider is the disrespect towards women would effect my opinion of the company. I would likely have less trust towards the company. The basis of all transactions is trust so losing some of it could ruin the entire relationship and sale. If the company cannot be trusted to respect women, how do we know they can be trusted to respect our money or the terms our agreement. While I would love to sit on my feministic high horse and say my choice remains to not work with the company, I truly do not know. A business is meant to make money but we are nothing without our values.
I would love to hear y’all’s thoughts. Let me know in the comments!
Stakeholder theory: a company which conducts their actions in relation to all internal and external stakeholders (ex: employees, customers, shareholders, and the environment)
Stockholder theory: a company which conducts their actions in relation to only their stockholders (ie making the most money possible)