The conception of Wall Street as "macho" has seemingly been around for approximately as long as the Financial District has been a district, and a New York Times piece now unsurprisingly asserts that the representation of women in the higher echelons of financial companies remains disproportionately small. While they make up roughly half of the financial industry, fewer than 3% are chief executives, according to Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit who works for the career advancement of women.
During corporate financial straits, it seems that the high-ranking women are the first to go; Ina R. Drew of JP Morgan Chase resigned after a $3 billion trading loss, as did international operations exec Heidi Miller. Zoe Cruz of Morgan Stanley and Sallie Krawcheck of Morgan Stanley have also left their posts in the last few years, either by axing or resigning in lieu of being axed. Why is this? Unsusprisingly, it's the classic double bind. Men who are mercenary dickheads in business: good! Women who are mercenary dickheads in business: (a) Does that even exist? or (b) bad; what unappealing hideous girl-snakes they are!
Ilene Lang, president of Catalyst, explains that the basic gender stereotypes ostensibly left behind, or at least been more sublimated, by many workplaces (see: Marissa Mayer, etc.) are still a flourishing and essential part of the Wall Street culture.
What's looked up to on Wall Street are people who swagger, people who will do the deal at any cost, people who will work day and night, hour and hour, for lots and lots of money and they don't care about anything else.
Even mentors provided to female would-be M.B.A. grads don't provide much leverage in the male-dominated field of finance. A Catalyst survey found that the women's mentors weren't nearly as often on the executive track as the men's mentors, and therefore male students receive more sponsorships and opportunities.
Now, I totally get why this is hard for Wall Street men to understand. It's confusing, because women give birth to babies, and not to "lots and lots of money." Now all we need to figure out is how to expel wads of both domestic and foreign currency from our birth canals, and after that everything will be totally fair and equal! Problem solved, motherfucker! Who wants to go to Dorsia?
'On Wall St., Gender Bias Runs Deep' [The New York Times]
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