by Janine Perrett

How bizarre to watch the macho brokers and bankers with their big swinging egos, battling to defend womens' rights in the great sexism tweet scandal.

As a woman, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Well that's a joke for a start, as I certainly don't cry.

And I certainly don’t need a man to jump to defend my honour.

I’m sure the woman at the centre of the furore, Michelle Jablko, could have done without the fake chivalry either.

Her appointment as CFO of ANZ has now been overshadowed by the unseemly brawl between financial industry heavyweights, Angus Aitken of Bell Potter stockbrokers and ANZ Bank PR Paul Edwards.

It’s become all about the men, of course.

Still, this is what happens when you trumpet every female appointment.

If you are going to bask in the positive PR spin of “first female CFO of major bank”, or, as one headline said, “most powerful woman bankers since Gail Kelly”, then any criticism is seen through the same gender prism.

So, just a few thoughts to add to the avalanche of opinion from predominantly male columnists and commentators about two blokes fighting over the issue of sexism.

Firstly, I thought Angus Aitkens’ original client note was not sexist given it did not even refer to gender. On reading it without knowing the name of the new appointment, I did not realise it was a woman.

And as someone who uses colorful language in financial commentary herself, I have no issue with him calling decisions “stupid and dumb” nor pointing out that most investment bankers are “crap”.

And he did have a good point about Ms Jablko’s role in the disastrous Slater and Gordon UK deal, which was a very recent debacle and could make you question your ANZ investment.

Mr Edwards’ short snaky tweet was unnecessary and would have been even if it had been from a woman, but was positively ludicrous from a male spin doctor for a bank that is itself battling allegations of a sexist culture. Talk about an own goal.

And the fact Mr Aitken is now suing Mr Edwards for defamation is a cautionary tale not only for social media users, but for employers.

Given that Bell Potter promptly dumped Mr Aitken over the issue, he has a major advantage to every other defamation action by being able to show exactly the cost of the damage caused by Mr Edwards’ tweet.

That would be Mr Aitken’s presumably large salary as their biggest earning broker.

And lest you think I am defending the arrogant Mr Aitken, I actually think he should have been sacked – but last year, when he was censured by ASIC over front-running.

The fact that Bell Potter did not act back then over serious financial allegations, but now over a silly tweet, says everything about them and indeed the whole damn industry.