• Monday, Apr 12, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:20 pm

Women making inroads on Wall Street, but still a long way to go

  • Published at 11:10 am February 28th, 2021
Girl Statue
The Fearless Girl Statue is seen on Wall Street in New York on February 8, 2021 AFP

Women in 2019 made up more than 50% of employees in the field in the United States, but only 22% of managers, leaving aside the highest positions

Pin-up photos and smutty jokes have long been commonplace on trading floors, but the finance world is gradually opening up to women -- underlined by the arrival on Monday of Jane Fraser at the head of Wall Street banking flagship Citigroup.

Her elevation marks "a milestone," according to Lorraine Hariton, director of Catalyst, an organization that promotes women in the workplace. 

"But there is also a long way to go," she said. 

Employment figures demonstrate the mountains that still have to be moved to achieve parity between men and women in the financial services sector. 

Women in 2019 made up more than 50% of employees in the field in the United States, but only 22% of managers -- leaving aside the highest positions -- according to a report by Deloitte. 

Current trends predict that figure will rise to 31% by 2030. And male financial analysts earned 17% more on average in 2020 than their female counterparts. 

Several women told AFP that women have to work harder than men to climb the ranks, and have to be seen as beyond reproach. 

Prestigious professions and those that pay the most, like investment bankers and traders, still remain strongholds of white men. And sexist remarks still come out from time to time.

"For every Jane Fraser, there are hundreds, if not thousands, out there," said Muriel Wilkins of the executive consultancy firm Paravis Partner. 

Also read - Epic battle over GameStop as 'nerds' take on Wall Street

"Are they being provided with the opportunities to be able to advance?" she said.

But the old certainties have started to shift. 

Women's network

Vague promises about the need to diversify recruiting have gradually led to some real reflection on the issue.

"Slowly more leaders... are starting to think and to talk about what it means to have equity in their organization... and which structures they can put in place, so that it is not just on women," said Muriel Wilkins.

At JPMorgan Chase, America's largest bank by asset size, there has long been an informal women's network. 

In 2013, women at the most senior level started organizing women-only meetings while on business trips around the world so that they could hear employees' thoughts.

Company head Jamie Dimon wanted to formalize these various initiatives and so in 2018 the "Women on the Move" program was created, said project manager Sam Saperstein.

"It allowed us to reinvigorate what we were doing with HR, with training and just pull everything together and elevate it in a clear strategy across the firm," she said.

The initiative organized a career development program open to all women in the company. About 500 participated in the first session last year, and 2,000 have applied for the second.


To tackle the citadel of asset management, which is still the preserve of men, the organization "Girls who Invest," founded in 2015, has set itself the goal of having 30% of the money invested in funds worldwide managed by women by 2020. 

Women currently represent only 6% of managers in venture capital companies, according to the group, and only 3% in hedge funds. 

The organization wants to prove that contrary to popular belief, women are not at all turned off by the job: companies just have to go out and find them. 

It scours university campuses to recruit students, train them and offer them internships. 

"The industry had moved tremendously in the past five years," said director Katherine Jollon Colsher. 

"More and more firms are now having 50% female analyst classes and are focused on those same numbers at the associate level."

"Measurement and holding people accountable is critical to make change," said Lorraine Hariton of Catalyst. 

Michael Corbat, Jane Fraser's predecessor, was one of the first in the industry to release statistics on diversity within his firm. 

It is also essential, Hariton said, for companies to put in place support measures, whether it is sponsorship programs or parental leave.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail