So What If Women Ran Wall Street?

Smiling-woman-on-phone-with This article ‘What if women ran wall street’ is fascinating in its discussion of the difference between the amount of risk taken between men and women being linked to testosterone. Hedge Fund manager Henry Lee who spent many years on the floor of the American stock exchange says that although you never saw many women in the job, those who were successful were unbelievable because they never got ruffled or lost their tempers. Emotions and pride are cited as being the cause of some of the biggest banking disasters such as Dick Fuld being too egotistical to sell Lehman brothers when he had the chance – posing the question ‘would Lehman brothers have failed if it had been called Lehman Sisters?’ John Coates, a senior research fellow of neuroscience and finance at the University of Cambridge argues that if women made up 50% of the financial world we wouldn’t see the volatile swings that we have seen in the market recently. His colleague agrees and says ‘The banking crises was caused by doing what no society ever allows: permitting young males to behave in an unregulated way. Anyone who studied neurobiology would have predicted disaster’. A performance coach to Wall Street traders says that many of the traits which are counterproductive to trading success are typically male such as aggression and being ego driven, and he says that it is easier to teach women in banking when to be more aggressive than it is to lessen the over aggression of men. I particularly liked a quote from Nancy Davis who worked at Goldman Sachs for five years ‘If there is a position going sour on me, I’m not going to sit and say ‘I know what’s best’. It would make me want to raise my hand and get advice from other people. It’s like asking for directions when driving’ And there is a fundamental difference, as we women know full well a man would far rather get completely lost than have to ask for directions!

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