Women are supposed to have broken through the glass ceiling; everything is supposed to be fair and equal in the corporate world. Alas, reality doesn’t always conform to what is supposed to be. Huffington Post reports on a recent American Economic Association study, which found that men are still using their connections to get in the heady world of finance but as far as women are concerned, who they know counts for nothing.
The bottom line is that the boys’ club is still alive and well and if women want to compete with well-connected men they have to work twice as hard. Apparently, mens connections make them trustworthy, but women’s connections, by implication, make them sneaky and untrustworthy. Perhaps people assume that women pay their connections in kind.
Women Outperform Men, Naturally
That statement is not supposed to reignite the gender debate; instead it refers to findings that show women are, by nature, better at making sound investments.
While investment firms might be drawn to fearless macho posturing and men who will happily leap where angels fear to tread, they should be seeking women’s more cautious nature. This is according to an article by Teresa Mitchell for North Bay Business Journal. Mitchell cites Harvard University’s Jennifer Lerner who says that when the pawpaw hits the fan, men react with anger and make impulsive, reckless decisions. Women, on the other hand, react with fear and only make decisions after they have carefully assessed the situation and analyzed the options.
These findings are borne out by studies by Brad Barber and Terence Odean, who found that while men were nearly twice as likely as women to trade, their annual returns fell by one per cent per year. Barber and Odean don’t use the word arrogant, but it does rather accurately describe the attitude of men who feel they’re too good, too powerful to fail.
Women may trade less than men but they do so more wisely and, more often than not, bring in positive annual returns.
According to Mitchell, other qualities that make women better investors include:
- Long-term thinking
- Willingness to diversify
- Willingness to ask advice
And yet …
Melissa Fisher is an anthropologist from New York University who has studied women in the financial sector in New York. Fisher recently published a book titled Wall Street Women, in which she says that despite all the apparent forward thinking and all the evidence pointing to women’s undeniable nous, they are the first to get the chop when things go pear shaped.
For example, more women than men were fired after the financial crisis, including three of the most influential women on New York’s finance scene.
Even more disheartening is the fact that many high-powered women openly admit that they’d rather promote men than women to positions of power. Patently, no ladies’ club exists, nor is one likely to exist in the near future. This is especially unfortunate because experts believe that with the right mentors, women could start closing the gap between their male colleagues.
About The Author
Written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes higher education opportunities in Australia, such as TAFE finance courses and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
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