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Where Are the Women? III

Where are the women? According to the 2002 documentary film Risk/Reward, they’re on Wall Street.

In a recent writeup of the documentary, codirectors Xan Parker and Elizabeth Holder expand on what they learned.

We thought these women would tell us horror stories about glass ceilings. But that wasn’t the majority. How do they balance work and family and friends and the pressure? We knew these women would be dynamic. But we had no idea.

Here’s the perspective of Jessica Bibliowicz, president and COO of John A. Levin and Co.:

It’s an age-old formula and a Wall Street credo: If you’ve got money, you’ve got power. Now that more women have money, the Street needs women. Firms are scrambling to create marketing programs targeted at women and investment funds run by women.

Wall Street is a tough place to work – for men and women. But women have always faced special disadvantages. My approach has been to turn those disadvantages into advantages. When I was younger, for example, I’d give presentations to institutional investors, and I’d be the only woman in the room. But that negative often became a positive. The men tended to listen to me more closely because I was a woman – a curiosity. And they tended to remember me the next time I made a presentation.

Wall Street needs more women in top jobs. And there’s still a certain mystery surrounding women on Wall Street. Do we work less hard than men? Are we more temperamental? The more women a company has, the less mysterious we become.

No glass ceiling? It is, after all, Wall Street.

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