The book I found is called Selling Women Short: Gender Inequality on Wall Street

60 Wall Street

60 Wall Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Louise Marie Roth.  The books chapters cover topics on gender differences in compensation, the impact of client relationships, workplace culture and women who have become succesful in the industry.  After a series of high-profile discrimination lawsuits in 1990, Wall Street was supposed to have improved conditions for women.  However as Roth shows in her book, it does not look like that has been the case.

In her book Roth compares the careers of men and women who started on Wall Street in the 1990s. She finds that not only do women earn on average 29 percent less than men, but they also have less lucrative career paths, fewer promotions and don’t get access to the best clients.  In the book Roth looks at some of the unconscious biases of managers, coworkers and clients.  These biases directly impact bonus compensation which is supposed to be based on performance.  However the relationship between the two is questionable because there are other factors that clearly influence bonuses.  The evaluation of performance is done mostly through manager and peer evaluations however these evaluations are subject to other influences including gender biases.  In a survey the author preformed 64 percent of men and women survey pointed to unrelated criteria affecting bonus allocation.  Overall the book looks like an interesting read and one that I will definitely flip through for my white paper

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6 responses »

  1. Connie says:

    It’s a shame that there is still so much gender bias and gender inequality in the workforce in this day and age. 29% is a pretty large figure considering it’s in reference to earnings. Not to sound pessimistic, but I’m starting to wonder when, or if, there will be visible changes in the gender bias in the workforce. It almost seems as if it almost becomes inherent that men are superior to women in the workforce, so it’s going to take a lot of work and progress to “rewire” centuries of stereotypes, behaviors, and attitudes. It would be interesting to here what the men of Wall Street think about this.

  2. Cheryl says:

    The title of this book is quite eye-catching. I’m interested to know whether the author suggests any solution to tackle the gender bias problem as well. I find it quite frustrating how gender inequality in workplace has continued to be a pending issue for such a long time. Since it has a lot to do with unconscious, not-too-overt biases, evidences of inequality might not be substantial or clear enough. I can see why finding a solution to completely eliminate the issue will be extremely hard and take a lot of work. Defintiely sounds like an interesting read.

    • Jordi says:

      Well, I think lots of men get REALLY defensive when it is suggested that they benefit from subtle (bit profound) bias or that they should change their behavior. Only a few men, I think, set out to discriminate. But to look at the outcome, the wage gap and promotion gap in this case, and then infer back to discrimination claims that they are part of the problem.

  3. brookeparker16 says:

    In my mating in marrying capstone we commonly discuss the role of women in today’s society. Recently we were debating on a mother’s role and her aim for a egalitarian relationship. Most studies agree that women ideally want to be in an egalitarian relationship where both partners are working and equally contributing to house and child care. However if this idea situation cannot be reached, women revert to their stereotypical roles to preserve their marriage. When push comes to shove women will pick their marriage over equality. What is interesting about this is that because we opt out of the working role to save our marriage we are reaffirming our stereotypes. We reaffirm the male’s idea that once we will have children we will leave the workplace to become stay-at-home mothers. Because of this occurrence a working mother is immediately stigmatized as less dependable; thus leading to less job opportunities and areas to succeed. It seems like we are almost in a terrible cycle where we try to transition out of these gender roles but are ultimately pulled back into them.

  4. Lindsay S. says:

    I can completely understand how working in the finance industry on Wall Street can lead to an even greater gender gap than other industries for women. This is largely due to the fact that the bulk of your salary is paid in bonus, like you said Sarah, which is so subjective. Since the bonuses are determined by all of the performance evaluations, which are subjective in themselves, I completely agree that there is plenty of room for unconscious biases. It’s so difficult to legitimately prove that a woman is really being discriminated against based on her gender. I know a bit about this because my mom is an employment and labor litigation lawyer and her job is to defend corporations when their employees sue them for discrimination. Most of the time, unless the manager did something really stupid that blatantly shows he/she is being discriminatory, the law falls in favor of the corporation because it is so hard to prove these things.

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