Finance is still male-dominated, particularly at the top. Women in the United States of America constituted 47% of the labour force in finance, two years ago, yet they accounted for just 19.5% of senior-level directors in the investment area.
Women can be massively ignored for offices of power, sometimes underrated and awaited to work harder or accomplish more to prove their worth against their male equals.
However, today, there exist more openings in finance than before for women, gratitude in large parts to women who took upon the challenge and emerged in their respective fields. The following list has been compiled to serve as examples and role models for women starters or entrepreneurs who want to lead in finance/investment.
1. Investment Advisor – Geraldine Weiss
Geraldine Weiss is among the first women to rise and showcase that women too can be successful female investors. Weiss studied business and finance in school but acquired much on investing particularly by reading books.
Her several attempts to work for investment firms failed as she described in an interview; ‘It was a man’s world, and women need not apply,”
However, amid rejections, Weiss began her private investment newsletter at 40 in 1966. Still, in one of Weiss’ newsletter publications was a reply that read, “I cannot envision myself ever taking investment tips from a woman….except you get yours from a man.”
To evade more gender prejudice, she signed her newsletter “G. Weiss’ and waited until the mid-1970s to declare her personality, after attaining a consistent thriving track record.
Weiss’s purpose-based approach conquered the tactics endorsed by other newsletters and has accomplished more than average returns even in poverty-stricken markets. Weiss issued her newsletter, Investment Quality Trends, for thirty-seven long years before retiring in 2003, though, the newsletter lives on and still obeys Weiss’s strategy.
2. Muriel Siebert, Brokerage Founder
Muriel Siebert wasn’t a graduate yet she received entry-level research posts in finance, and then founded the brokerage firm, Muriel Siebert & Co. in 1967.
Registering her firm with NYSE, New York Stock Exchange, was a difficult process involving a series of rejections from men who denied sponsoring her application. Getting finances for the exchange’s expensive entrance qualification was quite tough but she did not give off and her firm surfaced as the first female-owned member of NYSE and has remained the sole national female-owned brokerage on the exchange.
Sieber in the mid-70s remodelled her firm into a discount brokerage, a fresh notion as at that time. This menace to the status quo constrained her to exclusion from Wall Street and near banishment by SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission, still she subdued the hurdles.
Siebert also managed to integrate her financial expertise to politics, which is yet male predominated. In this office, as New York State Banking Superintendent, she assisted in checking bank failures in an agitated market between 1977 to 1982.
3. Investment Advisor-Abigail Johnson.
After serving as president and CEO of Fidelity Investments for two years, Abigail Johnson, granddaughter of the company’s founder and daughter of former Chairman Edward C. Johnson III, became Chairwoman and CEO in 2016.
Abigail is worth almost $11billion and holds nearly twenty-five per cent of the company. It’s however true that somehow being born into such a family got her to where she is now, but, as one of the biggest mutual fund companies with almost $6.8 and $2.5 trillion (in assets (2018) under administration and management respectively), Fidelity Investments wouldn’t risk that for the name alone.
Abigail graduated with an MBA from Harvard and served at the customer service, analyst and equity portfolio manager with Fidelity Investment for close to 10 years before meriting her first administrative post there.
4. Lubna S. Olayan, Chief Executive Officer of Riyadh-based Financing Company
As CEO, Olayan is accountable for fifty manufacturing firms and has also been listed No. 59 on Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women” list. She joined her family business in the 80s when it was uncommon or culturally unsatisfactory for Saudi women to operate in business.
Olayan hires over 500 women in her business and conquers women in the workforce. Olayan was indeed born into a top family, but she would not be worthy to run a business that manages fifty other companies if she was not capable, skillful and determined.
5. Venture Capital Fund Partner – Deborah A. Farrington.
Deborah Farrington, the founder of StarVest Partners-the business financial software firm and a female-partner of the VC fund, obtained her MBA from Harvard Business School.
She is the director of two public corporations in California, USA, including NetSuite, Inc., and Collectors Universe, Inc., as well as numerous private companies and one nonprofit. Deborah has been mentioned on Forbes’ “Midas List,” a ranking of top venture capitalists.
To conclude, being a woman in finance does not only denote high stress but equally denotes high visibility/distinctness. You can only rise via ranks by making this visibility work in your favour as a woman.
Most of these women if not all still suffer gender discrimination as well as lower pay for equivalent work. But these barriers are lower and the alternatives are more today than they were in Weiss and Siebert starting days.
Besides, so many advocates fight against gender discrimination in finance and equally help women get to that level they desire in business/finance. Several platforms also exist solely dedicated to supporting women in business. One of such platforms is the Female Investor Magazine, the number one source for female investors. Join at https://femaleinvestorsmagazine.com/ and get inspired by stories of women just like you who have demanded more from their money and taken action. Again, find answers to your financial questions and explore ways to put your money to work and your goals.
You can equally connect with prominent female business owners and investors at the forthcoming San Diego Female Founders Pitch Summit scheduled for May 2021. Register at https://femalefounderspitchsummit.com/.