Billionaire Says Babies Destroy A Woman's Focus In Wall Street Jobs

Paul Tudor Jones told an audience at the University of Virginia that having children makes women unsuitable for the finance industry. His comments were not well received.

Speaking at a symposium at the University of Virginia last month, hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones suggested that having babies kills a woman's focus, rendering her unable to succeed in the trading industry.

According to the Washington Post, Tudor said that “as soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it . . . every single investment idea . . . every desire to understand what is going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience . . . which a man will never share, about a mode of connection between that mother and that baby."

In a statement to the Post, Tudor later tried to mitigate his words by calling them "off the cuff" and pointing out that he's encouraged his three daughters to enter the industry and that anyone, man or woman, can achieve the greatest success in anything they set "heart and mind" to. The Post also notes that the dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, where the symposium was held, asked that no one record the session and remarked that “We must prohibit any discussion or description of the event in print or video, through electronic media or through Internet-based technologies including Web sites, blogs or social media, such as Twitter or Facebook."

A 2012 piece in Time called Ina Drew, a JP Morgan Chase executive one of the most skilled female traders on Wall Street. Her resignation as part of a trading loss scandal was blamed on an industry "which remains remarkably inhospitable to women" where "trading in particular remains a testosterone-fueled subculture, one that could use a considered and ongoing rejiggering of the gender balance."

Commentators on Twitter are seemingly united in their condemnation of Tudor's words:

Tudor's comments fly in the face of a century of progressive moves in women's rights, not to mention a long list of hugely successful women in business. Marissa Mayer, for example, recently assumed command of Internet giant Yahoo while pregnant (of course, this also sparked its own debate).

Jones's opponents may also have science on their side: Studies suggest female billionaires are more generous philanthropists than men, and that women make better investors than men.

But what's your take on this? The comments section is open to you.

[Image: Flickr user Andy Beez]

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17 Comments

  • Elizabeth Lewis

    Give the guy a break. He's just an older guy. He's old school and he cast help having stuffed like that slip out on occasion, he's just part of that generation that's residual and on its way out. There's old guys will be dead and gone soon... just wait, one day took be old and saying stuoid sh#t in front of hundreds of people and you'll wish they were forgiving and went easy on an old man v who means no harm..

  • Obrienpros

    I like what he said. It's hard to tell the truth any more. Since when do women fulfilling their mother instinct and focusing on kids have to be able to be corporate super stars at the same time? It's ridiculous. I'm sorry he back-pedaled. He was just acknowledging the natural priorities. Oops, he told the truth!

  • Michael LaRocca

    Of all the things that people do outside of the workplace, why single this one out? Sorry dude, but we all have distractions. We don't live for Wall Street 24-7.

  • Catherine Mchenry

    I know a few traders. Successful ones have a drive to kill the competition by any means necessary. The only mammal stronger than a bull is a human mother protecting her young. The bull will submit to fire, the mother ape or human or whatever will not when protecting her young. Ergo, if biological determinism fuels our career decisions, I say fire all the pricks and hire only fertile mothers.

  • Michael Oluwagbemi

    The knee jerk reaction to label this guy sexist without properly considering what he was saying, and trying to work around it (by offering women more child care options in the workplace), is the very reason women will be stuck on Wall Street for a long time. Again, he was saying the superior task of motherhood (just like the emotional experience of divorce for all human) makes women unsuitable for the high octane, decision driven world of trading that happens to be keyed into the 20s-30s exactly when they will be procreating. Note: not managing, not nursing, not education- not so many other professions; but TRADING. And if you didn't get it, then may be you will never get it.

  • Ana Lucia Novak

    I have seen comments from people who TRADE - I don't Trade and so I suppose the key word here is "Trade" - I suppose that there are certain roles to avoid then ?

  • Rueben Marley

    This guy is a billionaire? I'm guessing he doesn't give a shit about anything we have to say.

  • dina st

    I don't know, maybe he's right, but need more research....it's true there's change of mindset when became a mother.

  • Brian Olsen

    As a society we should have the righlt to reduce idiots like this to nothing. No status, no money, no possessions. Reduce them to nothing and allow them to rethink their arrogance, their obscene logic, their supreme stupidity. Destroy they're ego and let them gleen the fields for the leftover grain in the dirt.

  • Cyrus

    Thanks, Brian, you just proved my old adage--scratch a liberal and you find a fascist!
    Happy Memorial Day!

  • Joel42561

    Unfortunately, the entire wall street work culture is unfit for the majority of humans. I've heard horror stories which make this one seem fairly tame. Evidently you don't need a soul to exist here.

  • Katherine M. Gordon

    Know what's crazy? That this guy claims the "emotional distraction" of kids will render a woman useless in his field. What about the "emotional distraction" of how many times science tells us men think about sex during the course of a day?

    Also, who knew EF Hutton hired "girls"?

  • Louis

    Is Ted a family man? I seriously doubt it. Every mother I know has been committed to both job and family. Caring for someone gives you vision and clarity.

  • Karen Mallia

    The most frightening aspect of Jones' comment is not his demeaning women's capability. It is the focus on the mammary glands as the reason. He seems to be channeling Neil French, who was lambasted for his 2005 remarks about women's lack of progress in advertising. French claimed they don’t put in the hours, because “they wimp out and go suckle something, ” and that anybody who doesn’t fully commit to a job “is crap at it.” (Freudian psychologists and feminist scholars--go on and have a field day with this.) Sadly, this whole episode underscores that the entire business world is framed by the masculine "rule" that myopia is required for success. Rules were made to be broken, and the next generation of leaders has got to shatter that one and prove otherwise.

  • Ana Lucia Novak

    Do you really what to know what I think? I posted this comment on my facebook Meh. Someone should have Boo'd him. My mom had 4 kids literally 11 months apart, then went to school to learn English, received a Bachelor and Master degree. Later on in life went back to school to be a nurse. This guy must have a low opinion of his mom and sisters

  • Michael

    He's not talking about study, hard work, dedication or diligence. Having a family you love and wish to provide for is surely a motivator for exhibiting those qualities. hes talking about a particular singular kind of focus, required for a particular kind of endeavour. You are obviously not a trader. Also, I can't see how he's not expressing a low opinion of women. His opinion is that a woman's mindset changes when she becomes a mother, in a way that does no benefit trading. This in no way implies that women are not of value, or that he has a low opinion of them. It's hilarious that men are criticised and degraded openly all the time in media and generally allowed to be the butt of all kinds of jokes and negative comments. But say anything, ever about a women, that could in any way be perceived as meaning that they are not always at their best, at anything and everything, and all the time performing the same as men, and you're evil. 

  • Ana Lucia Novak

    Hello Michael,
    I can see your point and understand where you are coming from. You were more eloquent and he should take notes from you as to how to express his point without making it seem sexist. I grew up with 3 brothers, on a dairy farm, around tons of males. Even though I am first gen. American and my father is old world where women have their "place", I don't like men bashing jokes and respect men - at the end of the day, males and females all want to be loved, respected, valued, secure and want our families to be safe, taken care of etc. The issue I see with his statement is that women can't perform BECAUSE they are mothers. Women multitask well and are excellent partners in business.