Wall Street & The Role of Women

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The landmark Charging Bull in Lower Manhattan represents an aggressive financial culture. August 3, 2012 in New York, NY.
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As we approach the five year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, we consider what the event brought with it: The start of the financial crisis and a deep recession.

But what about the culture of Wall Street itself,  and the role of gender in finance? How have things changed since the collapse, and historically as well?

Women make up more than half the work force of the financial services industry, but they only hold 16 percent of senior executive positions.

Why? This past spring hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones offered one explanation for that disparity.

“As soon as that baby’s lips touch that girl’s bosom, forget it,” Jones has said. “Every single investment idea, every desire to understand what’s going to make this go up or go down, is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience, which a man will never share, about a mode of connection between that mother and that baby.”

Wall Street women had a lot to say in response to those comments.

“I invested with a lot of excellent female hedge fund managers and many of them were raising children at the time, so his reality is very different from what I experiences in my reality," said Susan Shaffer Solovay, founder and CEO of Pomegranate Capital, weighing in on this program in May.

When Margo Epprecht worked on Wall Street in the 1980s she had an observation of her own. She noticed that after women rose through the ranks they left.

She writes about the phenomenon and the numbers behind it in a new piece for Quartz entitled “The Real Reason Why Women Are Leaving Wall Street.

Also joining The Takeaway is Ginny Clark, a broker at Beech Hill. She was the first ever female trainee at Salomon Brothers, where she was also the first female trader in 1967. She was also the first female block trader at Merrill Lynch in the late 1970s.

Clark and Epprecht discuss the role of women on Wall Street and what culture changes have been seen in the last few decades.