Josephine Cafagna describes yet another piece in the gender inequality puzzle: the business lunch. The menu for these businessmen lunches includes “networking” as the entree, “jobs-for-the-boys” as main course and “back room deals” for dessert. As a woman working with four men, I often receive emails informing me about decisions they’ve made over a long lunch. For them, a men-only business lunch is like golf – simply par for the course. Traditionally, a gentleman’s agreement during a business lunch, or perhaps later at the men’s urinal, was simply part of the deal. The handshake was binding. It is now clear that these lunch deals often lacked transparency. When decisions made during a formal (and sober) workplace meeting are no longer overridden during a men-only lunch, we’ll have taken a further step towards gender equality.
First published as a letter to The Age on 27 December 2015