Wall Street Women

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Wall Street Women

Introduction

The book Wall Street Women is book talking about the first generation women who have been able to establish themselves as professional in Wall Street. It goes back to the 1960’s when women began their careers and were faced by blatant discrimination and challenges in their advancement, they created and formed formal and informal associations with an aim of bolstering each other’s careers. This historical ethnography by Melissa S. Fisher borrows from fieldwork, archival research and extensive interviews with successful women of the first generation in Wall Street. She goes on to describe their professional and political associations most common being the Women’s Campaign Fund and the Financial Women’s Association of New York which were groups formed to promote the election of pro-choice women. Melissa S. Fisher charts the evolution of women’s careers and how they have grown both politically and economically. She looks at the changes in their perspectives and the cultural climate in Wall Street as well as the 2008 financial collapse. In Wall Street most of the pioneering subjects never participated in the women’s movement that had been happening in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She argues that these women did produce a “market feminism” which was in line with the liberal feminist ideas on meritocracy and gender equity with the logic of the market. This is a book that has been well researched and thoroughly documented and it’s a portrait of pioneer women by providing context for understanding the emergent discourse of feminizing markets. Fisher saw an opportunity to carve out a niche within the academic literature to examine career movements and the underlying motivation for women in Wall Street. She began by interviewing a group of 20 women who were in senior level management in 1993. She went on to keep in touch with them to throughout the financial crisis and kept track of their careers and identified their frustrations and challenges as well as ultimately locating their trajectories within a cultural framework. The results of this research ended up in a book Wall Street Women. Discussion

Wall Street Women looks into what it’s really like to make a career in the boardrooms of the incorrigible boys club of high finance. Fisher is a scholar at New York University in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis and traces fifty years of the personal and professional lives of the first generation women who make it as executives on Wall Street. The females in this book served in the top most units of major investment banks and brokerage firms as well as ran their own boutique management firms. She did a decade worth of research with interviews conducted in offices in London and New York. All this female professionals were picked from fundraisers and networks during events at the Upper East Side manses and they were followed up even after the financial crisis. She displays how women who made it on Wall Street deftly deployed their supposedly innate risk-averse qualities to be able to stay at the top of their game. This means that women had to deploy their female innate qualities to be able to stay afloat for a long term. Since the 1990’s female executives have cast and portrayed themselves as prudent “mothers making family purchases” this is directly opposite to the hot-blooded male investors on Wall Street. These same traits that made these women would be “saviors of the economy”. According to Fisher this is a function strategy and not part of a biological function. Some people believe that women are more conservative and risk-averse than their male counterparts. Some also believe that if women had filled more top leadership roles the financial crisis and recession would not have come out that way. They believe that things would have unfolded differently. According to Wall Street Women it shows like women have different intrinsic qualities and are...
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