Is Progress For Women On Wall Street Hopeless?

Women of Wall Street.jpgWall Street’s “huge and persistent” gender gap continues to befuddle the best laid plans for achieve something at least approximating gender equality in finance. We’re supposedly far beyond the days of rank harassment and sexism, yet women continue to underperform–earning less, leaving more and less frequently rising to the top of their banks and brokerages–when compared to men. This continues despite of some truly incredible efforts on the parts of Wall Street institutions to recruit, retain and promote women.
“The most annoying thing about all of this is that it strikes against the idea of a meritocracy. We’re always taught that if you work hard and have a good education, you can transcend everything. Why is progress at a standstill?” Heidi Moore of the Wall Street Journal asked recently.
After the jump, we explore the age old question: What do women want?

But the problem of the lack of women on Wall Street is hardly new. It was raised as part of a 1930 banking symposium, according to Time Magazine. “Last week the smart Plaza Trust Co., Manhattan, held a symposium on banking at which a speaker estimated that 41% of U. S. wealth belongs to women,” Time reported. “Since many a woman prefers womanly advice. Wall Street brokers noted the figure with interest, wondered if the number of women in finance will increase.”
The standard explanations are well-known. Persistent and perhaps subconscious discrimination, stigmatizing women with families, minimal family-leave policies and pressure from friends and family to be home more often are typically cited in discussion of the gender gap. More rarely raised–perhaps because just raising it can open you to discrimination lawsuits–is the possibility that the gender gap would persist regardless of outside impediments.
But two new studies of a similarly striking gender gap in the fields of math and science may have implications for Wall Street. The studies suggest that an important part of the explanation for the gender gap are the preferences of women themselves. “When it comes to certain math- and science-related jobs, substantial numbers of women – highly qualified for the work – stay out of those careers because they would simply rather do something else,” an article by Elaine McArdle in the Boston Globe explains.
Could it be that many women who leave Wall Street–or decline to show up there in the first place–are simply doing other things because they want to? The studies don’t focus on Wall Street but the findings are, at least, suggestive. Many jobs on Wall Street are heavily dependent on mathematical ability, and the same self-selection that operates in the sciences could operate in finance.
So is the progress of women on Wall Street hopeless. Perhaps not. The findings of another study–a broad survey of mathematically gifted girls and women–may suggest that women could excel in some fields on Wall Street–such as client relations at a prime brokerage desk and certain investment banking positions–that are more social.

Women who are mathematically gifted are more likely than men to have strong verbal abilities as well; men who excel in math, by contrast, don’t do nearly as well in verbal skills. As a result, the career choices for math-precocious women are wider than for their male counterparts. They can become scientists, but can succeed just as well as lawyers or teachers. With this range of choice, their data show, highly qualified women may opt out of certain technical or scientific jobs simply because they can.

The freedom to say ‘no’
[Boston Globe]

(hidden for your protection)
Show all comments

104 Responses to “Is Progress For Women On Wall Street Hopeless?”

  1. guest says:

    It’s a good question, women in greater proportions than men aren’t suckers who get stuck working hard at finance careers for the rest of their lives. Many of them have the good sense to leave and get married, raise a family or pursue some other more pleasant and less time consuming career.
    Why should men have to suffer in recruiting at the expense of quotas for women just because Wall Street firms want to be seen as employing diversity?
    And don’t tell me it’s not the case. Anyone who has been involved in the hiring process at a major IB knows it’s true.

  2. guest says:

    I’d gladly hire women who on their resumes included hobbies such as being spanked and wearing stilettos.

  3. Random Banker says:

    Better question is why should women suffer so that banks can meet their quota of meat-head frat boys who regenerate in banks year after year solely based on their brohiems gettin their backs, bro.

  4. guest says:

    I find this absurd. I would gladly hire a well-qualified woman for niche fields like advanced wardrobe research, crucial office and home maintenance, and beef/poultry/grain preparations. I find them particularly useful when trading in the A&P 500.

  5. guest says:

    I was an engineer before going into finance so I am as quant as they come. I can run circles around any of the men in my class on this. but I hate the culture, the ol’ and young’uns boys club feeling, the having to go to happy hour with the oafs, the kissing up, the impossible hours, the bitching and sniping amongst even the women, the looking down on the women who get pregnant and assuming they are out after maternity leave. The feeling that if you commit to anything else outside of work, you are not as serious about getting ahead. I like the comp. That’s about it. Even the ‘challenge’ is not as challenging as they claim it is. You are here because it pays a lot. How long will that make the whole torture worthwhile? Not sure. But I sure as hell don’t aspire to stick around long enough to be a ‘veteran’. Those are sad sad women who can’t even relate to any of the women analysts and associates.

  6. guest says:

    When was the last time a woman was involved in establishing a firm on Wall Street? Personally, I haven’t heard of many women starting hedge funds.
    Maybe men are less risk adverse than women in general (one who by nature offers the majority of the care for the offspring would by design be more risk adverse to assure survival of the offspring).
    Oh, and as for Heidi Moore’s article, hard work doesn’t count for shit. People are expected to work hard, especially when pulling down the compensation offered by a high level career in finance. ‘Having a good education’ doesn’t count for shit, either. Aptitude, dedication, perseverance, an ability to handle failure, an understanding of risk and a shitload of luck is what it takes to succeed.
    Being born into the lucky sperm club might get you into an Ivy League school and that might lead to a high level job in finance. One’s buddies might be able to open doors or cover up screw-ups. However, but let’s face it, those who were pumping money into sub prime and vaporizing hundreds of billions of investor wealth were, by and large, people who ‘worked hard’ and ‘had a good education’ but thankfully have been Darwinized out of the industry.
    Let’s see more women willing to risk their personal wealth and create opportunities to provide for themselves. We have seen plenty of men willing to do it.

  7. guest says:

    @9:22 “I like the comp”. Doesn’t that say it all? I think you’re going to find that the alternatives are maybe 90% as bad, but pay maybe 60% of the comp. Looked at that way, its fine where you are. And a lot of your complaints have little to do with being female. We all feel that way. The trick is to fight to get some balance in your life, make sure your job is not 110% of your being.

  8. guest says:

    9:22, you are dead-on the money. You said it all more succinctly than I will ever be able to. Just allow me to add, A lot of the corporate and “sales culture” (for lack of a better term) is “competition-centered.” In other words, it’s the male-domination-of-the-playground dynamic, played out in the world of finance where the score is kept in Dollars and the perqs of the Corp-suite. As competent and skilled as women may be (or become), this just isn’t an attractive milieu for many (most) women, It just isn’t satisfying or interesting enough. As to the point of “how much suffering can you take?” again, I would say that men’s career paths are affected by the relatively fewer choices men tend to have in life. Regardless of whether a man decides to have a family or not, opting out of a career is very rarely an option for men as it is for women. Agreed, a woman who is a 20-year veteran of a Wall Street house is a sad thing to behold. It’s a sacrifice for most women, whereas it’s a natural linear progression for a man and a natural competitive environment for a man. Make sense?
    Sure it does.

  9. guest says:

    @9:35 I’m going to take issue. The hedge experience you talk about (“risk personal wealth and create opportunities…”) is like day trading but on a larger scale. Its rare and has a really high failure rate. So I would be careful recommending it. The more typical hedge fund model is not that different from traditional fund management: analysts, portfolio managers, risk control, compliance, etc.

  10. guest says:

    9:22 – you hit it on the head. I am here for the comp. As to why women don’t start hedge funds – well, it’s because the people doling out the funds tend to look askance at women fund managers (“are they committed enough?” etc. etc.) and since raising money is half the battle, it seems kind of pointless – 3 years of low-to-no pay while you get a track record and HOPE someone gives you money.
    My big problem is that despite my experience, etc. my opinion on investments is still questioned 3x as much as an equivalent guy. A guy recommends a stock, gives the bullet points, it gets bought. A woman recommends a stock, gives the bullet points, “let’s wait and see what it does for a while before we do anything”.
    I don’t think Wall Street is different from other industries (except perhaps nursing or other female-dominated fields). Just that the money is bigger.

  11. Investorcluzo says:

    with regard to the numbers (I’ll forego the race discussion b/c this is about the ladies), women do self select out. think about a) the percent of women in b-school and b) the percent of women studying finance. probably 2x that of women in banking. plenty of women get HIRED into analyst and associate classes but don’t tend to stay past vp years. whether it’s “lifestyle”, “to have kids”, or “fed up with the b/s”, I’ve seen plenty of women leave while men seem to “tough it out” for the money (yes, it’s about dollars). that said, I’ve known several women were managing directors (on the i-banking side, trading is different). as for the minimal maternity leave argument, I don’t believe that holds water (pun intended). there was a woman (MD) I worked with who had two kids in three years. she must have worked 1/2 – 2/3 the year in each, yet she was still collecting a paycheck and bonus (not sure if it was pro-rated) while others around her were watching their backs for the hatchet-man. on the comp issue, wall street pay is the most transparent of any industry. if you’re feeling underpaid, you can always go to the next shop (except, maybe in this market).

  12. guest says:

    @9:39 A lot of women would cringe at your statement about them not being natural competitors. Very courageous. And politially incorrect.

  13. diablo says:

    The “new” studies cited in the Boston Globe article really don’t say much about WHY women chose careers as they do. They sort of go to state the obvious, you chose the job that you prefer to do. And that applies to men also. Waste of ink.

  14. guest says:

    There are many women who are highly competitive, very smart, well educated and take plenty of chances, calculated ones at that too.
    Unfortunately it is people like you who feel that only because of gender a woman cannot perform, and therefore not given the opportunity. Intimidation? Perhaps! Ignorance? Absolutely!!!

  15. Investorcluzo says:

    @9:49 – very easy to be courageous as a “guest” poster. at least those that provide screen names can be tracked.

  16. guest says:

    Jeez, you treat em like a lady and they want to be treated like one of the boys…..So, you treat em like one of the boys and they sue the firm. Go figure.

  17. guest says:

    @9:42 –
    I posted 9:35. My point wasn’t that all women need to strive to become glorified day traders. My point was that the metric for success being set forth was women working their way through bureaucratic organizations to achieve senior management levels. The question essentially is “Why haven’t women been more successful navigating the bureaucratic mazes of Wall Street firms?”
    Since when has success in high level finance been defined by managing bureaucracies? Women probably have a similar level of achievement on Wall Street (with respect to advancing through the corporate bullshit) as public college grads.
    Darla Moore is about the last female I can think of who did it on Wall Street her way and blazed her own path. Maybe we should be asking “Why are women so willing to let men be the entrepreneurs and innovators when it comes to high level finance?”

  18. guest says:

    @9:52 I was saying courageous becuase my sense was that the poster was female. Courageous of her to admit this, even to herself.

  19. blndebnker says:

    I think the reason so many women don’t “tough it out” as Cluzo says is because the vast amount of BS that has to be put up with. Yes every job sucks and has BS. That’s why it’s a job. But women in male dominated fields deal with easily 3x the BS. Nobody ever questions a man’s competence in a female dominated field just because he has a penis. However women in finance are constantly doubted simply because they don’t have a penis. And if anyone doubts the BS women face, look no further than this website. As soon as a female poster expresses a serious opinion, out come the posts re: her ovaries, underwear, and stupidity.

  20. guest says:

    9:53 is there really that much entrepreneurship and innovation happening in finance? Or needing to happen? How about the names of some of the men, so I see where you’re coming from here.

  21. guest says:

    Agree with all the above, except of course the idiot @9:35, it’s pure self selection/economic rationality. Deciding to pursue the top level of finance takes a certain kind of personality and a huge emotional drain on thsoe aroudn you, most women are just smart enough not to sign up for that when they have other options. Also, as said there is no better example of what not to do than senior women they meet early in their careers.
    I think the advent of hedge funds and PE shops is changing things, just not on Wall Street. There now exist work environments in which women can genuinely aspire to “have it all”.

  22. Random Banker says:

    On the other hand women created this whole mess for themselves. If they didn’t have a propensity to sleep with men who had more money, then there would be no wall street. Or at least no wall street as we know it. Most of human advancement or shit the advance of any species with two sexes, is the result of men one upping each other trying to get women to sleep with them. Over eons of evolution the ultimate result is a pot bellied 22 year old guy right out of college, staring at a screen with blood shot eyes going blind from reading 10Qs and going bald from the stress. Its your own fault women, you’ve made your bed now you have to lie in it.
    P.S. are engineers really as quant as they come? Aren’t like math majors or something quantier, just asking.

  23. guest says:

    The last point in the article (in italics) completely lacks merit. Take a look at the top scorers on the LSAT by undergraduate major — Math and Physics. Additionally, you will find correlation between males scoring high on SAT Verbal and Math sections. Obviously, we cannot use standardized tests alone to measure one’s command of language as a tool. However, some (not all) enter non-quantitative disciplines because they can’t keep up in their freshman calculus course, etc… The converse is not true (which becomes obvious when you exclude non-native english speakers from consideration). This arbitrary distinction between men and womens’ quant/verbal dual capacities amounts to a female Boston Globe reporter’s unsubstantiated boast that she ‘could have been successful in either arena, but just chose to write.’ A) I suspect not (judging from the logic lacking in her observations and logic) B) Her natural dual gifts aren’t exclusive to women.

  24. blndebnker says:

    @9:52 – I get treated more or less like one of the boys but in a good way. I’m lucky to work with some awesome dudes. But you and I both know that treating a woman like one of the boys doesn’t imply asking a woman how she “likes to take it” or if she’s “a real slut in bed”. Unless you treat your boys in a way that is vastly different from what I know to be the norm.

  25. guest says:

    This is @9:39, in my defense, I didn’t mean to say that women aren’t equally tough competitors, merely stating that as a general preference, women tend not to be as interested in, or motivated by the competitive ethos, whereas it is inculcated in men from day 1 of their lives. Men tend to have much of their ego and their identity wrapped up in the competitive ethos, whereas women just find it stressful and boring.
    It’s just true.
    It’s not that women aren’t capable of competing, of course they are, it’s just that this kind of a career is perceived as a sacrifice by most normal women.
    As for whether it’s courageous to admit? I don’t know. I just think it’s wiser to align your path with the truth and with you true nature than to fight it for some outward appearance of “success.”
    There are women who are drawn to these kinds of careers and who are very successful at them. It’s just that there are fewer of them, and there will always be fewer of them due to the nature of women.

  26. guest says:

    We are animals. Women want babies, a nest and a protector. We need to acknowledge our biological differences and stop worrying about/setting quotas etc. It is the biological equivalent of “fighting the tape.”

  27. guest says:

    I think we should wait until women are allowed to vote before deciding whether or not they should be allowed to play with money.
    But it’s really cute that they’re trying…

  28. guest says:

    At 9:22, I couldn’t make it past the first sentence. Others seem to think you makde a decent point, but the fact that you think that you are “as quant as they come” because you were an engineer is, well, laughable.
    Unless you were an engineer who also happened to have a PhD in mathematics or the like.
    I’m guessing not.

  29. golden girl says:

    The vast majority of men on Wall Street are not going to rise above the VPish level. They’re just not. So, why do they stay? Well, any number of reasons, but I suspect in large part because it’s a cushy job with good pay, a relative amount of security, and interesting people. For those who have a family and bills to pay, they don’t necessarily have the flexibility to leave a situation like that.
    Women, on the other hand, do have more of that flexibility, particularly if their husbands are guys like the one described above (for argument’s sake, I’m using the married mother here, but I’ve got plenty to say about women in other age/domestic situations). And women have no trouble getting to that same VP-ish level as their husbands; that’s not the hard part. But once they’re there, they’re not as stuck. Whether they leave to raise their kids, work in a non-profit, serve on boards, whatever – they can leave, and many of them take advantage of that opportunity.

  30. Anal_yst says:

    I just wanna say if some relatively cute, well-to-do woman needs a boy toy, you know where to find me.
    If that makes me a ‘kept man’ than, well, I guess I’m ok with that.
    F’ working 80hrs/week till you’re 50

  31. blndebnker says:

    Good for you, Anal_yst. If I come across a rich cougar, I’ll point her in your direction.

  32. HAM05 says:

    well blondie you failed to address an interesting question that you yourself raised:
    are you in fact a slut in bed?
    i kid, girls can be whtever they want. the whole point of the feminist movement was to offer women the choice to work these kinds of jobs. from my experience, however, the ultimate goal of a woman isnt ‘sucecss’ in her field but rather ‘success in life’ via marrying well ($$), raising a nice family, and not getting too fat in the process. theres nothing wrong with that.
    granted there are those alpha females that want to succeed whatever the price (see z. cruiz) – just like there are dudes that like to wear panties every wednesday. they exist, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

  33. guest says:

    With this kind of attitude towards women, I wonder how any of you get laid.
    It might be right to admit boys that because of your own insecurities you feel the need to work in finance, and appear successful to compensate for your lack of self esteem.
    Take away the crazy hours which lets admit it is mostly because you have nothing else to do, and as pathetic as that sounds you would rather be at the office and putting in hours, which are simply that and rarely that productive.
    You boys may succeed in finance related jobs for whatever reason and I am not going to rehash whatever it has previously been said, because most of you are simply choosing to ignore it or lack the reading comprehension, but success comes in all kind of forms.
    Women have just figured out what it is for them. If that might mean that you have to work a lifetime and earn the big paycheck while she is a stay at home mom, and creating a family, and spending all your money, and in a few years taking you for everything you are worth then, well who is the bigger winner now?
    As it was quoted previously all it takes to succeed is aptitude, dedication, perseverance and ability to handle failure, an understanding of risk and shitload of luck.

  34. girl says:

    Throwing a topic like this to a group of rabid mysigonists isn’t exactly cultivating anything akin to ‘dialogue’ or humor, so why bother Carney.
    This, on the other hand, is rather interesting:

  35. FirstYearBKR says:

    Women on Wall St have the upper hand; most seem to not realize it or know how to use it. What guy wouldn’t want to take orders from a put-together intelligent woman with a bangin’ bod in heels and a skirt?
    Learn to harness your power ladies…you’ll definitely stand out in the pack of male 20 and 30 somethings who, for the most part, look act and dress exactly the same.

  36. guest says:

    More importantly, how do I add that magazine to my shopping cart and check out?

  37. blndebnker says:

    Excellent point KLW. Well put.

  38. golden girl says:

    I don’t know, girl, with the exception of a handful of mouth-breathers I’ve found the comments in this thread to be surprisingly reasonable and intelligent.
    The major problem is that we’ve all gone down this road before, and I have yet to really hear anyone add a new point or perspective on this topic.

  39. guest says:

    Obviously physics and math PhD’s are a different category but compared to 99% of Wall Street an engineer *is* as quant as they come. You can’t compare math and science (or engineering) with finance. You really don’t need to be all that good at math to be an investment banker, trader, compliance officer…whatever.
    I have a MBA from a good school and an MS in math. My experience has been that engineers are much, much better at math than MBA’s. There is no comparison.
    Anyway, one possible reason women are under represented in finance than I haven’t seen yet:
    It is more difficult to manage work and family responsibilities when your career opportunities are centered in Manhattan. Yeah, if you really hit it big it’s do-able with super expensive nannies and four million dollar apartments and expensive private schools (what are they running? 35k per kid?). But most people aren’t in that league before they begin reproducing and they don’t want to take the risk of staying in the rat race and ending up worn out and having a lifestyle that sucks compared to their sister who is a nurse in Atlanta. So they move out of the city and scale back. Commuting is OK with one working spouse, but two? That’s tough. Unless your hours are a joke you will see your kids for maybe 45 minutes.
    Women who are doctors, lawyers, architects, etc. have greater geographic flexibility and more opportunities to scale back work for several years mid-career. This is difficult to so with a finance career.

  40. counterclockwise says:

    I am one of the few that feel that the lack of women at the top is the result of subtle and not-so-subtle problems: (1) gender bias, including a hostile work environment (demeaning personal questions and jokes); and (2) the problem of child-bearing years occurring during a critical make-it-or-break period in a Wall Street career.
    Comments on this site illustrate the prevalence of gender bias and the frequently hostile environment toward women.
    The problem of child-bearing occurring during critical career years could be overcome by better child-care options; arrangements that wouldn’t tax parents’ natural and loving concern for their children. Money can’t buy everything and individual unregulated child-care arrangements frequently have less than satisfactory outcomes. More flexible hours would help, too.
    Women are more successful at moving toward the top in law and academia. Something must be working in these fields that isn’t working on Wall Street.

  41. blndebnker says:

    I have to agree with GG. Most civilized discussion in a while.

  42. Random Banker says:

    MBA’s are stupid, obviously most people with an MBA aren’t good at math. How many MBA’s work at Renaissance? The issue at hand is who is “as quant as they come”… don’t get your panties in a bunch MBAs i’m not talking about you personally i’m talking about all the other stupid MBAs.
    @10:30 that’s right, and this is why the Silda Spitzers of the world don’t get to complain when their man is getting a rusty trombone in the port authority bus terminal bath room, at 8:37pm, tonight, from a woman that may or may not have testicles…. alas i digress

  43. golden girl says:

    I think #2 holds way more water, personally. The timing for children is, unfortunately, right at that sweet spot where many women are at a tipping point in their careers. And there’s really not TOO much which can be done to amend that, unfortunately. Flex hours and all that would work, but it’s just difficult to hop on the fast track if you’re only in the office three days a week.
    I’m sure many, many people out there have felt #1 (I am not among them – I could not work in a less hostile environment, and I think that’s a credit to the company I work for as they really don’t suffer fools lightly in that regard) and I don’t wish to sound uncaring, but I can’t help but feel that some women are a combination of overly sensitive yet unwilling to assert themselves and speak up. Those just aren’t qualities that are going to get you to the corner office.

  44. guest says:

    someone doesn’t have an MBA…. And is probably getting some shit for the lack thereof….

  45. lift all the offers says:

    @10:53, I agree. I’ve worked with Math majors who obsess about writing white papers and engineers who know just about every numerical method to approximate the unsolvable. I’ve even worked with a Math PhD who had trouble learning Excel after years of Matlab.
    I’ll take someone who can approximately solve Navier-Stokes over someone who can talk about differentiable manifolds any day.
    Having said all that, I have an MS in Stats and prefer that over both.

  46. guest says:

    Have our standards fallen so far that banking, which in most cases requires nothing more than simple calculation, is considered a quantitative discipline? You may as well call marketing or advertising or HR quantitative.

  47. Random Banker says:

    @10:53 wall street is a hostile environment for everyone? First of all there’s nothing that says women have to have children. and any man who spent that same amount of time with their children would get grief at work.
    Also is there anyone on this site who hasn’t been demeaned or harassed or ridiculed at some point? When men create a hostile work environment for women its sexual harassment, but when they create hostile work environment for other men its just tough nuggies? How is that?
    And yes, obviously wall street is a magnet for those who overcompensate for their insecurities by accumulation of wealth. UHHH so what?

  48. blndebnker says:

    @GG – I would agree that some women are definitely oversensitive. In finance you have to know what you are walking into as a woman. The key is to grow a thick skin and let it roll off the back. The truth is that outside the occasional dirty joke here and there, men that are making degrading or insulting comments are bullies or impotent jerks that feel threatened by a smart, powerful woman. Otherwise, it’s just boys being boys.

  49. guest says:

    Maybe we can get the dumbest mother fucker on the business tube to address this on the air. Yes, indeed, we are talking about the on air editor financial genius and male chauvanist pig Gasbagarino. I mean he added so much value with his fagot story at SAC. If he can string two sentences together without too many grammatical errors, this might be right up his alley.

  50. guest says:

    I dunno, I think working for a woman sounds like a nightmare. All of the ones I have met who are in supervisory roles in finance act as if they have something to prove constantly go the extra mile to make subordinates miserable.

  51. guest says:

    Maybe we can get the dumbest mother fucker on the business tube to address this on the air. Yes, indeed, we are talking about the on air editor financial genius and male chauvanist pig Gasbagarino. I mean he added so much value with his fagot story at SAC. If he can string two sentences together without too many grammatical errors, this might be right up his alley.

  52. guest says:

    @KLW, well said.
    “Is the culture of Wall Street predominantly male because men thrive in that environment, or did men create an environment in which they were more likely to thrive?

    Isn’t it maybe just a little too unbelievably convenient that “the way things are” is exactly the same as “the way you want things to be”?”
    I wonder if wall street/law wtc. are the way they are just because they are the way they are. I seem to recall (but this could be wrong…) that the modern medical residency/internship schedule arouse largely because it was how the senior doctors at John Hopkins liked to work, and it spread from there.

  53. golden girl says:

    @11:25 – You know, I actually hate working with women myself. And I hate that I hate it.

  54. guest says:

    I dont mind the chicks I work with it. Its the fags and transvestites that bother me.

  55. guest says:

    @gg I know many colleagues, male and female, who feel that way, it’s pretty strange phenomenon, like I never hear anyone say “I hate working for men” or “I hate working from Indians” (well, only once). But I do NOT know anyone who has actually quit over it at least.

  56. Random Banker says:

    @ goldengirl:
    don’t you find that its always the most competent people that others hate to work for. They’re always all over you, catching your bullshit little errors that don’t really matter and being a general pain in the ass. if a woman is in banking and she’s not like that, then it seems to me she’d be leaving herself wide upon for her competence to be questioned. I don’t even think that’s a matter of sexism just a matter of your rivals being willing to use whatever they can against you.

  57. Investorcluzo says:

    @11:12 – why even dignify the comment with a response? just ignore it and move on…”not everyone can get into business school”, true statement. “all mba’s a stupid”, silly rant without merit.
    @gg and bb – definitely have to have thick skin. there are guys in the bullpen that say much worse stuff to other guys (forget about ovaries and the like). in fact, I’ve seen an analyst on the verge of tears (and yes, he was harassed for that) during one of the many “sessions”. so it’s not just a hostile work environment for women.

  58. guest says:


  59. guest says:

    Agreed. (–11:35)

  60. golden girl says:

    Let me clarify – I don’t like working FOR women. I work with two perfectly delightful female colleagues. And I’ve only had to work for one woman, really, since I’ve been here, so she might have just been a lemon. But I just don’t like that passive-aggressive style that some women sometimes display. I’d much rather just get yelled at.
    Anyway! Back on topic. Remember that article about the toughest math class at MIT? And how there was only like one girl in the class in a span of five years? That was incredibly interesting to me, because that’s a class that you choose to take. Why didn’t more girls choose to take it?

  61. blndebnker says:

    I’m in a unique situation that many of the managers in my group (my own included) are female. There are some with which I relish any opportunity to work with and some that I avoid like the plague. I think the difference is some feel the need to show everyone how smart they are by being bossy and “bitchy” while others already know they have the goods and display it through their outstanding track record.
    @Cluzo – I don’t doubt it. There are assholes everywhere. I’m sure the tears made it worse, poor thing. But I was just assuming that in general, the nature of the bullying would be different.

  62. guest says:

    Is there anyone who likes working for Indians? In my experience, they have an overly high opinion of themselves and use every possible opportunity to take credit for other people’s hard work. And think that no one else has noticed. Kind of like Jews.

  63. Random Banker says:

    I think most men in finance if they had the option would chose to marry and investment banker rather than being an investment banker. Women have this options, as said earlier, and so the ones that have any brains get out while the getting is good. Look at girl, she’ll soon have 1-2 locked down, they’ll move back to chicago and she’ll be pumping out babies in winnetka in no time.

  64. guest says:

    As long as women use tits, ass and legs to get ahead, all the while claiming that “what’s between their ears is more important than what’s between their thighs” and then still flaunt those assets upon advancement, they can in general never be taken seriously in the executive suite. I say in general because there are exceptions.
    Women often discredit themselves by their own actions. Look at all that shit coverage yesterday of Erin at LEH. “Fashion Plate”? Why should that even be an issue? Why?…Because she makes it one.
    Women can go to all the B-schools they want. They can go to all the IV-League schools they want. Until they change their fundamental nature, they will never be completely equal to men in business. Quotas and all that other bullshit nothwithstanding.
    The fundamental nature of women is immutable. It will not change. They are what they are, and we are what we are. That is what makes the world go around.
    This “Women and the glass ceiling” crap will just continue to drone on.
    The Guy from Delaware

  65. Random Banker says:

    Since when does moving up in banking have anything to do wit brains? if it was based on brains then this would be a totally different story. I think you’re thinking of tenure at Columbia or NYU or some shit. Though I hear getting tenure is a clusterfuck too.

  66. Anal_yst says:

    Interesting how no one has pointed out the obvious here (maybe thats why?), but this largely has alot to do with how people were raised and brought up in their formative years, life experiences, yada yadda yadda…
    I’m inclined to suspect the more mysoginistic likely had sexist fathers/role models, with no one or nothing to balance that influence out, unfortunately.

  67. guest says:

    type A’s are made for wall street, gender shouldnt be an issue. there just isnt an excuse for sexism but majority rules in any situation so stupid idiots with big egos bully in the pit or the playground. whoever can handle the job should do it – meritocracy can rule.
    Have a look at The Glass Hammer dot com. we try and give women some good advice, as not many have mentors or friends in the industry of either sex who are giving them the advice they need. if you are a women – check it out. if you are a men, hey it may be useful for you too.
    everyone is different. some women want to pursue other careers, same as some men want to do other things too. just be happy. jobs can be all consuming , make sure you like it
    on a positive note- there are lots of women on the buyside.

  68. guest says:

    I’d like to raise a side topic related to these discussions: the impact of maternity leave on the organization
    My experience has been that 80% (4 of 5) of the young women who worked for me that got pregnant did not return to work after their maternity leave. I was not allowed to replace or even interview potential replacements until after these women officially quit, which none of them did until the last day of their leave. This meant that I have been short a person for 3-6 months on average, depending on how long it took me to find a replacement.
    I honestly have no idea when each of these people made their decisions (either before or after the birth, or possibly even on the last day leave, when the reality of returning to work hit them), but motives aside, are the current rules and regulations actually hurting us all here? If a woman decides not to work after having a child, shouldn’t that decision be supported and shouldn’t the incentive model be biased in favor that decision being public and actionable as quickly as possible so that the impact on the rest of the firm is minimized

  69. guest says:

    type A’s are made for wall street, gender shouldnt be an issue. there just isnt an excuse for sexism but majority rules in any situation so stupid idiots with big egos bully in the pit or the playground. whoever can handle the job should do it – meritocracy can rule.
    Have a look at The Glass Hammer dot com. we try and give women some good advice, as not many have mentors or friends in the industry of either sex who are giving them the advice they need. if you are a women – check it out. if you are a men, hey it may be useful for you too.
    everyone is different. some women want to pursue other careers, same as some men want to do other things too. just be happy. jobs can be all consuming , make sure you like it
    on a positive note- there are lots of women on the buyside.

  70. guest says:

    type A’s are made for wall street, gender shouldnt be an issue. there just isnt an excuse for sexism but majority rules in any situation so stupid idiots with big egos bully in the pit or the playground. whoever can handle the job should do it – meritocracy can rule.
    Have a look at The Glass Hammer dot com. we try and give women some good advice, as not many have mentors or friends in the industry of either sex who are giving them the advice they need. if you are a women – check it out. if you are a men, hey it may be useful for you too.
    everyone is different. some women want to pursue other careers, same as some men want to do other things too. just be happy. jobs can be all consuming , make sure you like it
    on a positive note- there are lots of women on the buyside.

  71. guest says:

    Is DB trying to poll what percentage of their readers are female with this kind of articles?
    It was fun for a while, now it is simply a waste of time.
    There is enough discrimination in Wall Street I don’t need to hear it from a blogster too.
    If I am competent, and I can make you more money than the next guy/ girl, does it really matter what gender, what age, what ethnicity or religion I am?
    If your answer is yes, then well…someone’s loss is someone elses gain.

  72. guest says:

    Hey, “Type A”, “Glass Hammer” dude. Please don’t post for a 4th time. We read it already.

  73. guest says:

    “ladies…harness your power….”
    Isn’t that what chastity belts were used for?

  74. guest says:

    At least most of you haven’t been mistaken for a secretary because you fit the Hispanic demographic of the majority of secretaries on your floor. Damn couriers.

  75. big r says:

    the return of KLW just made my day

  76. guest says:

    The fact is that women ARE diferent and hence equal career outcomes are impossible. From an empirical sample of people I know from tops schools and at fairly high profile jobs, ‘most’ women tend to prioritize family and work-life balance more than men do.
    Note I said ‘most’ not ‘all’ so ladies, keep the flames to yourself. I personally work with a few who are so hyper-motivated that they do manage to scare others around them but on average, women are less likely than men to slave away at some job that they may / may not like for professional advancement / money / fame / bragging rights.
    It is not surprise then that women totally dominate jobs like PR etc.
    And if we are looking for forced equality everywhere, then why start with Wall Street? Why do I not see women who are movers, delivery personnel, security guards etc? If true equality is what we are aiming for then maybe we should do it across the board!

  77. guest says:

    Old news. Does this
    add anything useful to the discussion?
    Probably not, but ya gotta love Cake lyrics.

  78. Random Banker says:

    Ha, one year to the day ago. A shortage of bankers. Nice TED, what’d you do, travel back in time and post this just to taunt us?

  79. guest says:

    You forgot the mention the women combat soldiers in Iraq and in Afganistan. They have been shot-up, blown-up, killed, and otherwise destroyed equally with men.
    All are equal there.
    The Guy from Delaware

  80. guest says:

    People don’t like to be bothered thinking about combat soldiers in Iraq. It reminds them how stupid they were to vote for Bush.

  81. guest says:

    who cares? women should be at home, raising kids, going to church and having a nice dinner ready when their hubby gets home. All this talk of working is silly, unless the women is either a lesbo or cant meet guys in bars or frat parties.
    I once slipped the salami into this Colombian mami after a client meeting and she screamed like a stuck pig. I sent her home and that was that.
    (And no self-respecting man lives in Scardale. If you cant afford Greenwich, you simply must work harder or embezzle.)

  82. NotNasser says:

    I can’t really follow this erudite discussion, because variations on the phrase “huge and persistent” keep running through my mind.

  83. guest says:

    girl, it was a surprisingly insightful series of comments to follow the article, even though the article took the low road with the worn out playboy pic.
    Old-school Wall Street guys were generally going to treat women differently than men in a IB environment, but most newer people in the industry are generally not (but might still be very sex-crazed on DB and even at work).
    Having lived in the midwest and just visiting a rural area in Canada, I understand there are many intelligent and modern women who choose tradition roles by choice. Women who marry and expect to have a family early (under 30), etc. Some who have been on the Street start to feel totally emotionally drained in Wall Street and exit for something a bit more rewarding on a social level. Sometimes you discover this after an experience that shows how your coworkers can sometimes be not very interesting or well-rounded people, or have a bad work experience.
    I have discovered the male/female dynamics that sometimes are at play can be observed in The Office, obviously overplayed but still making a point sometimes. Note the sexual tension, respect shown or not shown, etc.
    Just my 2cents

  84. MGR says:

    From WSJ today.
    On the Job: Are Women Getting What Women Want?
    Conventional wisdom says women and men want different things out of their jobs. But a new study of nearly 8,000 leaders globally by Catalyst and Families and Work Institute says that’s not true — women want the same things as men, they just don’t get them.
    The stereotypes say that women prioritize things like flexibility and co-worker relationships, while men value pay and challenge. But when researchers ranked men’s and women’s values in order of importance, they found nearly identical rankings.
    Men’s top six, in order:
    – Having a supportive work environment (tied for first)
    – Having a challenging job (tied for first)
    – Being well compensated
    – Having a good fit between life on and off the job
    – Having the opportunity for high achievement
    – Working at a company that has high values
    Women’s top six, in order:
    – Having a supportive work environment
    – Having a challenging job
    – Having a good fit between life on and off the job
    – Being well compensated
    – Working at a company that has high values
    – Having the opportunity for high achievement
    And here’s the clincher: When men and women were asked to what extent their jobs delivered these values, responses differed by gender. Men were more likely to be getting what they wanted; women weren’t. Men for instance were more likely to be in jobs they found challenging, and to say they had a good fit between their life “on and off the job.”
    One possible clue to the latter: More men have full-time help at home. Just over half of surveyed male senior leaders had a non-employed spouse or partner, while only 18% of women senior leaders did. Among so-called pipeline leaders, 28% of men had non-employed spouses while only 4% of women did.

  85. guest says:

    Wow@ What deep thoughts. You all having a slow day? Get out there an make some $$$, and stop obsessing……

  86. guest says:

    MGR @ 5:03, what is the point that you are trying to make?
    Of course men and women would want the same thing ‘ON THE JOB.’ The issue being discussed here is that there are OFF the job needs which get slotted in variously for men vs women.
    Who on earth doesnt want a better paying, challenging job with good work-life balance? The qestion is – do men adress the career-family trade-off difference differently than women? Empirical evidence would say yes, and your survey here proves jack because it doesn’t even address that issue.

  87. counterclockwise says:

    I think MGR @ 5/21 5:03pm made some interesting and relevant points. I’ve been thinking about the many thoughtful replies on this thread, and they have influenced my thinking.
    I think the tough housing situation for families, requiring many people with children to become commuters; the lack of options for child-care (we’re basically relying on an underpaid immigrant workforce who may not have legal working papers to care for very young children, and for children who are sick, there are no alternatives at all); and the pyrimidical structure of financial firms and their concentration in New York City, have all contributed to make working through child-bearing years uniquely difficult for women in finance.
    I heard far more goodwill towards working women than I expected to hear, which heartened me.
    Obviously, there are negative attitudes to overcome, and very real practical difficulties. But there doesn’t seem to be a carved in stone resistance to change. No more conclusions at this time. Still thinking it all over.
    Thanks to the people who wrote thoughtful comments.

  88. guest says:

    One quick question- did men or women prefer anal in your study?

  89. guest says:

    Women in finance:
    I’d give her my job if she’d do it sitting on my lap LOL

  90. guest says:

    ok folks, so women in finance are OVER. okay? OVER. Get over it too.

  91. guest says:

    Women are just as competitive as men are, they just aren’t as obnoxious. I think women are smarter than men to avoid careers in IB etc. Women would like to enjoy life, their families, and their children. Their career isn’t what “makes them (a man)” and definitely aren’t defined or slaves of their jobs. My father is a businessman and worked 16 hour days for 30+ years, I know what that does to a person and a family. As alluring as the business is, it’s just not worth it.

  92. guest says:

    Nice to see not much (excuse me, nothing) has changed. Just “retired” in Jan from sixteen years in the bulgiest of bulge brackets as, yes, a VP (alas, could not suck enough dick to make it to MD/Partner), and it’s both funny and pathetic that the little boys who are coming up behave no differently from the old-timers. Proving once again the old adage that money in no way equals class. Misogyny comes from men who are the MOST insecure about themselves and their abilities (in the bedroom and on the trading floor). Same kind of guy that says he’d “give her my job if she’d do it sitting on my lap” is no different from the kind of meathead that slaps around his girl. What else are they good for??? Where’s my turkey pot pie??!
    But what’s worse at these firms w/ their HR bullshit and quotas is that once these women are there, they are left to twist. MDs may not make direct, inappropriate comments (by then they’ve learned to keep their biases under wraps), but they systematically freeze the women in their organizations out. And when MDs are called on it, they circle the wagons and force out the knowing few.
    And if by chance a woman DOES rise, it’s usually because she’s become a bigger prick than the men she works with. Never sees her family (if there is one). Throws people under the bus to get ahead. Lies, cheats, whatever it takes to move up. Power hungry for the sake of, well, Power. So, yeah, as a woman without that goal (become major douchebag, screw over friends, clients and colleagues to get ahead, etc), I’d say that it still sucks for women on the Street. Not because the women who start in the biz are not good at what they do, but maybe because the decent ones won’t compromise their values for advancement. And after a certain number of humiliations and years of passive harassment, they just stop trying to fit in with those same douchebags.
    I was pretty great at my job until I realized succeeding at my job had nothing to do with my actual skill, but everything to do with fitting into a place that didn’t want people like me. Tough realization but better to do it than to live in denial.
    But, honestly, thanks again for proving how unwanted even talented women are in this business. It’s good to know I’m not missing anything!

  93. guest says:

    I am a woman and I agree with the Guy from Delaware. I have worked in investment banking and in the hedge fund industry and unfortunately there are SO many women out there who come across as bimbos. Of course because the majority of the women are like that, the minority that are intelligent are not taken seriously. You really cannot blame the men.
    It’s not the men who see women as a piece of meat who sabotage a woman’s career but women sabotage themselves. This is not only true for the business environment but also in personal life. Nowadays women claim to be more independent and intelligent but unfortunately women act more stupid, desperate and needy than ever. Then they talk about how bad men treat them. And the men are laughing all the way to the bank. All the women who claim that men treat them badly deserve that kind of behavior cause they bring it on themselves with their screwed up behavior.

  94. guest says:

    To: guest, May 24, 2008, 5:43am.
    1. I like your reasoning that you “really cannot blame the men” for sex discrimination. Not. Actually, negative attitudes about the role of women permeate society as a whole, and some women share them. You might be one of them. Right now, men are in charge in the world of finance. If we don’t make the people who are in charge accountable for perpetuating gender bias, who is accountable? Actually, the law, back in 1965, made people in charge accountable for practices that resulted in sex discrimination in their work-places. If someone doesn’t want to be responsible for making sure his organization acts in compliance with well-established American law, he shouldn’t take that plum leadership job.
    2. Young women are usually better-looking than older women, just like young men are usually better-looking than older men. Who would want the young to forego their natural joie de vivre? A woman who is young, pretty, and vivacious is not inviting men to devalue her, just as she is not inviting men to rape her. She may be a target for unwanted attention, but that’s powered by the laws of physical attraction, not her individual will.
    It’s the responsibity of men to fully respect the human boundaries of a female colleague, like they would of a male colleague. Women are not in the work-place for the psychological or physical pleasure of men. They are there to earn a paycheck. If a woman’s presence adds incidental pleasure to the work experience of their male colleagues, that’s not harmful to anyone, as long as the men are not distracting the woman or others by exhibiting overly aggressive or courting behavior that belongs outside of work. If a man acts like he is in a bar and not a place of work, that’s his problem, not the woman’s.
    3. The vast majority of women who are in abusive relationships (pyschological or physical) are not the abuser. Such a woman may not see the psychological pattern that brought her to such a relationship, but she still is not the abuser. Cops encounter tangled relationships among criminals all the time, and have to make judgments about who to arrest and charge and who to let go. Thus, someone who has harmed a victim who may not have used the best judgment, or who may be downright unsympathetic, is still prosecuted.
    4. We all have to make judgments about what is best for our futures versus what is second-best all the time. If you do nothing but rationalize the status quo (“the women out there come across as bimbos,” “the minority that are intelligent are not taken seriously,” and “you really cannot blame the men”), you are not moving ahead, or even staying in place, because the world changes without your participation.

  95. guest says:

    Although average intelligence among men and women is very similar, there are more men in the high tail of the I.Q. Bell Curve (and at the low end). May not be politically incorrect, but that is what the research shows.
    I am a female whose mathematical aptitude ranks in the 99 percentile, but I don’t work on Wall Street. Finance does not strike me as a discipline that requires higher math skills, not in the way the hard sciences do.
    I’ve been a professional athlete most of my life, and love to compete. Wall Street seems more about a high competitive drive than advanced math ability. Only a few women are that competitive, or obsessive.
    To approach the Wall St. question form another (slightly tongue in cheek) angle, what is the ratio of males to females among compulsive gamblers?

  96. guest says:

    do you competitive smart chicks take it in the butt?

  97. guest says:

    Rumblings out this weekend from within LEH.
    JoeG is not happy with Erin. Somebody has to take the hit for last week’s debacle and for that $500 Mil bogus-accounting bit in March.
    I’m thinking that my services may soon be needed there.
    The Hatchet Man

  98. guest says:

    I hear that the new “golf” on Wall Street is Lacrosse. The boys club recruits from their alma mater’s sports teams. So much for science and math knowledge-just wave a big stick.

  99. guest says:

    The Hatchet Man, 5/25, 12:37pm. You take such evident enjoyment in your work!

  100. guest says:

    9:53, yes. Definitely yes. The more hard-ass they act, the more they love it.
    Speaking from experience.

  101. guest says:

    Men may run the world of finance, but they also pay professional BDSM mistresses located in “dungeons convenient to Wall Street,” to bend them over to take it in the A with a strap-on. Do they do this because they feel guilty waving their big sticks over their desks all day long while leering over their PAs? Or is it because they just flat-out hate their lives?

  102. guest says:

    Summer is here. Currently recruiting female interns preferably from non-Ivy institutions. Raises guaranteed after which you can quickly climb to the top.

  103. guest says:

    The bullet proof “Glass Ceiling” could not be more PLAINLY reinforced than by taking my TAX dollars to pay (what looks like only) MEN for their patently clubby malfeasance.