Women have been financial managers in their homes from pre-historic times. A good financial manager, indeed. With their entry into the workforce, women have been shining their mantle in the professional world too. In fact, they could be the she wolf of the Wall Street.
Globally, women accounted for 47.7% of the total workforce in 2022. Astonishingly, their participation in financial firms is stranded merely at 24%. Out of this 24%, only 9% manage to reach senior leadership roles.
Can you spot the gap between the total women workforce and those working in the financial sectors?
Can you notice the low percentage of women reaching the top positions in financial institutions?
Table of Contents
- A Brief History of the New York Stock Exchange and Muriel Siebert
- The Early Life of Muriel Siebert
- What Motivated Muriel Siebert to be the She-Wolf of the Wall Street?
- Challenges Faced by the Women Workforce During COVID-19
A Brief History of the New York Stock Exchange and Muriel Siebert
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is the largest financial institution in the world. Yet, the female workforce of NYSE accounts for 9% only. Thanks to the efforts of Muriel Siebert (1928-2013) a.k.a “The First Woman of Finance” who paved the way for women in the Dalal Street of New York.
The year 1967 witnessed the debutant female of the NYSE. This was the year when she laid the foundation of her firm “Muriel Siebert & Co.” at the mature age of 39. Whoa, she must have had the guts to wander through the male-dominated society at this age.
At that time, the NYSE had 1365 male members. Being the first and only female among the blood-sucking “Wolfs of the Wall Street” must have been an experience I couldn’t even imagine. More so because that seat cost her $445,000 at that time. She used to proudly boast her NYSE member badge to be her most expensive and dear piece of jewelry.
Although she was not the first female stock market investor, she was the debutant to replace a male member and be a trendsetter. Muriel Siebert was also the founder of first woman-led brokerage firm in the history.
The Early Life of Muriel Siebert
The childhood of Muriel Siebert was tragic. She dropped out of college early to take care of her ailing father who left her with only $500 in savings. With big dreams and determination, she drove to New York City to make a career out of finance later.
Due to the lack of proof of her ability (read a college degree), she forged a lie to land her first job as an analyst at Blanche & Co. During the initial six years of her career, the concept of glass-ceiling broke her morale.
Glass-ceiling is a phenomenon where women are paid less than their male counterparts for similar job profiles and work. The concept persists worldwide even today, unfortunately.
What Motivated Muriel Siebert to be the She-Wolf of the Wall Street?
An excerpt from her autobiography, Changing the rules, reveals the motivation behind her securing a seat at NYSE. In a state of despair at the prevailing bias in the salaries of men and women, she consulted a friend, asking if there was any large firm that would pay her equally.
He replied, “only if she bought her seat on the New York Stock Exchange”.
Determined to get equal status, she embarked on her journey to secure funding of $300,000 to qualify and apply for the seat. It took her two more years to win the coveted seat and prestige that she was seeking. She remained the sole Queen of the NYSE for a decade before another woman found her way up to her.
Challenges Faced by the Women Workforce During COVID-19
When it comes to the workforce, women face numerous challenges. Managing near-perfect work-life balance and family priorities are two main obstacles that make their journey uneasy.
The unfortunate times of Covid-19 have only strengthened the fact that more women lost their jobs than males. According to a study, women lost 5% of the jobs held by them in 2020 while the figure reached 3.9% for men.
Given the unlevel playing field for men and women in the financial sector, the success story of Siebert sprinkles the droplet of hope that the future will be bright for the ladies who persist and prevail. Women are inspirational. A lot more needs to be inspired. Cheers to all the women of substance!
Women are good at doing the job done. They have proven it time and again. They have proven it at both personal and professional front. However, bias like glass-ceiling stop them from achieving greater heights. It is time we provide equal opportunities and credits in their field of excellence. Their stone-like determination is enough to bring magical changes in whatever field they choose to shine.
To keep reading more on finance-related articles, tips, and latest news, subscribe now.