You're sitting in the annual shareholders’ meeting, an investor among a sea of investors, and you're listening to the chairman of the board speak. You're female (Sorry, guys), and your business is weapons. And the chairman just called you the weaker sex.
Did your heart just skip a beat? Ours did. If this were the movies, and not real-life France, guns would have come out of briefcases. Bullets and knives would be flying everywhere. When the dust cleared, either the women would be left standing, all “What was that about ‘weaker’?” or the men would be grinning ear to ear, all “I told you so.” Or maybe not, since some folks consider France as the “weaker country."
It seems in Safran's shareholders' meeting on Thursday, 71-year-old Francis Mer, said to be blunt and set in his ways, told shareholders, “It will not have escaped your attention that ... we will be in a situation where the so-called weaker sex will be making a deafening entry into our board.”
Colette Neuville, president of the ADAM association of minority shareholders, told Reuters that she thinks Mer's attitude stinks. “I completely reject these terms, the mere use of which says a lot about attitudes to women,” she said. “Coming from the head of a company which insists on equality, they are completely unacceptable.”