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If, as many maintain, women could have such a tonic influence on the markets, why are there so few women traders? Why are women not pushing their way onto the trading floors, and why are banks and hedge funds not waving them in? Women make up at most 5 percent of the traders in the financial world, and even that low number includes the results of diversity pushes at many of the large banks. The most common explanations ventured for these numbers are that women do not want to work in such a macho environment, or that they are too risk averse for the job.
There may well be a kernel of truth to these explanations, but I do not place much stock in them. To begin with, women may not like the atmosphere on a trading floor, but I am sure they like the money. There are few jobs that pay more than a trader in the financial world. Besides, women are already on the trading floor: they make up about 50 percent of the sales force, and the sales force sits right next to the trading desks. So women are already immersed in the macho environment and are dealing with the high jinks; they are just not trading. Also, I am not convinced women are as easily put off by a male environment as this explanation assumes.
There are plenty of worlds once dominated by men that have come to employ more women: law and medicine, for example, were once considered male preserves but now have a more even balance between men and women (although admittedly not at the top echelons of management). So I am not convinced by the macho environment argument.
What about the second-mentioned explanation, that men and women differ in their appetite for risk? There have been some studies conducted in behavioral finance that suggest that on computerized monetary choice tasks women are more risk averse than men. But here again, I am not entirely convinced, because other studies, of real investment behavior, show that women often outperform men over the long haul, and such outperformance is, according to formal finance theory, a sign of greater risk taking. In an important paper called “Boys Will Be Boys,” two economists at the University of California, Brad Barber and Terrance Odean, analyzed the brokerage records of 35,000 personal investors over the period 1991–1997 and found that single women outperformed single men by 1.44 percent. A similar result was announced in 2009 by Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research, which found that over the previous nine years hedge funds run by women had significantly outperformed those run by men.
Alyssa Rosenberg highlights the fifteen most offensive listings in Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report.
As someone who writes about popular culture, I have to shake my head and laugh rather than vigorously bashing it into my desk. Such is the case with Thomas Delatte’s “100 Hottest Olympians” post for Bleacher Report, a piece so sexist, so insulting, so foolishly written, and that reflects so poorly on the writer that it’s astonishing that someone thought it passed muster. The concept is simple: help heterosexual dudes spot attractive women at the Olympic games (God forbid women admire the bodies of any competitors), and remind them that the important thing isn’t that these women have trained their entire lives to prove that they’re preeminent in their fields, but they’re available to be ogled by viewers at home. Along the way, Delatte reveals that he doesn’t know much about a lot of Olympic sports, but that he’s a gold medal contender in the field of condescending grossness. What follows are the fifteen (out of one hundred profiles) most astonishingly awful things Delatte has to say about female Olympians from around the world, in no particular order:
A state lawmaker who says she was barred from speaking in the Michigan House because Republicans objected to her saying "vagina" during debate over anti-abortion legislation performed "The Vagina Monologues" on the Statehouse steps — with a hand from the author.
Eve Ensler, whose groundbreaking play about women's sexuality still packs theaters 16 years after it debuted, oversaw Monday night's performance by Democratic state Rep. Lisa Brown, 10 other lawmakers and several actresses.
Capitol facilities director Steve Benkovsky estimated about 2,500 spectators — women and men — watched the play in downtown Lansing from lawn chairs and blankets. Billed on Facebook as the "Vaginas Take Back the Capitol!" event, the combination play and protest included political signs and chants of "Vagina! Vagina!"
Ensler, who flew in from California, where she's overseeing production of her new play, said she was thrilled to be involved and likened the punishment meted out by the Republican leadership of the state House to "the Dark Ages."
"If we ever knew deep in our hearts that the issue about abortion ... was not really about fetuses and babies, but really men's terror of women's sexuality and power, I think it's fully evidenced here," Ensler told The Associated Press by phone Monday before arriving in Lansing.
"We're talking about the silencing of women, we're talking about censoring people for saying a body part," she said. "Half of these people who are trying to regulate vaginas, they can't even say the word."
Brown made her comments during debate last week on legislation that supporters say would make abortions safer but that opponents say would make it much harder for women to get abortions. While speaking against a bill that would require doctors to ensure abortion-seekers haven't been coerced into ending their pregnancies, Brown told Republicans, "I'm flattered you're all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no."
Brown was barred from speaking in the House during the next day's session. House Republicans say they didn't object to her saying "vagina." They said Brown compared the legislation to rape, violating House decorum. She denies the allegation.
Female Bosses. They’re a type, aren’t they? At least that’s what dueling research findings seem to suggest. You either get the ones who hang with their sisters at some women’s conference and then offload a project to run home to their kids, or some alpha female whose stiletto seems aimed at kicking you back down the career ladder. If they work in a male-dominated industry, they benefit from more slack than guys when it comes to making mistakes, according to research by Christian Thoroughgood of Pennsylvania State University. Linguistics expert Judith Baxter has found they’re not even funny: More than 80 percent of quips from senior women were met with silence in her research, while 90 percent of the men’s jokes got an immediate laugh.
And working for a female boss if you’re a woman? Don’t get the experts started. Women with female bosses report more headaches and anxiety than those who report to men, a University of Toronto study found. German researchers found they suffer higher levels of depression. Maybe that’s because female bosses direct their hostility toward other women more than 70 percent of the time, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, while men are more inclined to make everyone feel miserable. Then again, consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman surveyed 7,280 leaders last year and found women notably better at mentoring, motivating, and driving for results (PDF). Put them in charge, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found, and other women in the company end up making more money.
Now comes a June 12 study from Catalyst, a nonprofit group that focuses on expanding opportunities for women in business. As part of its ongoing study of 742 MBA grads, it found that women are not only better than men at helping others—women and men—move up the ladder, but those who sponsored others or developed others earned an additional $25,075 in compensation from 2008 to 2010. Moreover, 73 percent of those mentors are especially inclined to help women, while only 30 percent of the men were.
The findings of the fifth annual Financial News Women in Finance survey are sobering: Of the 650 female respondents to the survey, all of whom work in the financial services industry, two thirds said their gender made it harder for them to succeed and a similar proportion said they felt they needed to work harder than male counterparts in order to be viewed at the same level of achievement by managers.
Ruth Grant, a litigation partner and co-chair of the diversity committee at law firm Hogan Lovells, said: “There is a mismatch between what’s being done and outcomes. There is a difference between management having projects and structures that they put in place and actually embedding those ideas into the corporate culture and how the business makes them part of the daily life and DNA of an organisation.”
The survey results are a timely reminder that, while top-level management of financial firms is largely convinced that change is necessary and has begun to implement programmes, there is still more that needs to be done. The challenge, particularly in depressed market conditions, is keeping gender diversity on the priority list.
Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, which has had notable successes encouraging chairmen to bring more women into board roles, said: “There has been a very long, slow burn over the understanding of gender imbalance, but a sharp pick-up and growing momentum for change over the past 18 months. The financial services sector, and especially bigger companies, are trying very hard, partly in an attempt to rehabilitate their reputation. It is a paradigm shift for many people.”
Financial firms do appear to be making more of an effort. This year, 38% of survey respondents said their company had no diversity programme or women’s networking forum, less than the 46% who responded similarly last year. Whether the shift is due to more companies launching programmes is arguable but, certainly, there is increased awareness and communication within firms to promote uptake of such initiatives.
You'd think that since 1916—the year a woman was first elected to U.S. Congress—there would have been some serious progress.
Women in the workforce, after all, have been on a steady rise.
Not so in Congress, where women hold less than 17 percent of seats to this day, according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. In 2010, the number of women elected to the House actually declined.
Palmer and Southern Methodist University professor Dennis Simon have been studying the political glass ceiling for over a decade. Voters, they said, mostly aren't to blame for the lack of progress. But they shared five other very real reasons more women aren't in Washington:
Name It. Change It. is a non-partisan project of WCF Foundation, Women’s Media Center, and Political Parity.
Together, we will work to end sexist and misogynistic coverage of women candidates by all members of the press—from bloggers to radio hosts to television pundits.
Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women. A highly toxic media environment persists for women candidates, often negatively affecting their campaigns. The ever-changing media landscape creates an unmonitored echo chamber, often allowing damaging comments to exist without accountability.
A Sunday New York Times article by David Streitfeld has the feminist and tech worlds up in arms. Reporting on a sexual harassment suit filed by a junior partner in a venture capital firm, Streitfeld begins by proclaiming that “MEN invented the Internet” (those CAPS are his). I came across Streitfeld’s article after a friend suggested I check out tech journalist Xeni Jardin’s Twitter feed. Jardin’sresponse to Streitfeld:
WTF: “MEN invented the internet.” I’m sorry, did NYT just breeze past half a century of women in computer technology?
Herein lies the issue: Though Streitfeld primarily covers Ellen Pao’s lawsuit, he undermines his piece by leading with an emphatic and incorrect statement about men as sole inventors of the Internet. I’m not certain if Streitfeld was being tongue-in-cheek or if he simply has a narrow view of Internet history. But his article does incite, albeit unintentionally, necessary dialogue about the roles women–and racial and ethnic minorities–have played in Internet innovation. While some apparently assume that men alone developed the Internet, a quick glance at the Internet Hall of Fame’s 2012 inaugural inductees and the Early Internet Leaders list prove otherwise. (I also recommend reading History of the Internet).
In reality, the genesis of the Internet was a collaborative effort. It took decades of developments in computer programming and network technology. We can’t let the current cult of tech fandom around “white” men–such as Steve Jobs, whom Streitfeld name checks–obscure the women and the racial and ethnic minorities from around the world who contributed to the birth of the Internet.
Reshaping a time-worn narrative isn't easy. Social revolutions rarely are, especially when you're a woman trying to break into the boys' club that is Silicon Valley.
But an emerging class of early-stage tech start-up executives is helping dispel the notion that there isn't a leading role for them in the male-dominated valley.
Company founders and leaders are coming out of Google, Salesforce.com and elsewhere for the excitement of shaping a young business.
The emergence of young female tech founders and executives reflects sweeping change in the worlds of start-up companies and angel funding, where wealthy investors give money in return for a stake in a company. It underscores the enormous purchasing prowess of women online that is transforming the Web economy. As more consumers reach for their smartphones and tablets to shop and communicate, there is a pressing need for commerce sites that cater to women, who control 70% of online purchases worldwide, according to Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer, a digital media company.
Many of these inroads are being made by female-led start-ups that are fueling innovation and the digital economy. Women will influence the purchase of $15 trillion in goods by 2014, according to Boston Consulting Group.