The corridors of power…

Tales of brutality aired. Case settled after a day or two for undisclosed terms. Female disappears back into obscurity, clutching fat cheque.

I’m not disputing that there are legitimate grievances. Indeed, the recent case of Helen McNallen, a former equities trader with Commerzbank, was a personal tragedy.

But in the majority of cases, these women knew exactly what they were letting themselves in for. The City has always been a nasty, macho sort of place. The women who fit in are the hard-drinking ladettes who give as good as they get.

Look at the sums involved. Can one feel that much sympathy for someone who has been raking in upwards of £200,000 a year – before bonuses? Louise Barton, former Investec analyst, complained about only being paid £1m when her male colleague got twice as much. Am I missing something?

It’s all getting out of hand. For every case that makes it onto the business pages, there must be dozens more settled behind closed doors. Firms are being blackmailed into paying out – or risk being blackened in court.

For a long time, the City was a man’s world. Women, quite rightly, have invaded the club, but they shouldn’t pretend to be shocked by the brutal tactics and lavatorial humour. The City hasn’t changed – attitudes to litigation have. Every workplace has its backstabbing and politics. Why should City firms be any different?

Women who can’t hack it in the City shouldn’t sign up. They should try something less stressful. Like flower arranging.

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