There’s a long piece by former retail stock analyst Margo Epprecht in Quartz today debunking the myth that the absence of female CEOs on Wall Street is a result of their opting out. According to her, the real problem is that women have to work extra hard and keep their heads down in order to prove they deserve a seat at the table with the boys. So once a downturn hits and the illusion of meritocracy dissipates, they’re much easier to lay off than the “politically savvy,” “well-connected” guys who schmooze. Then in the next bull market, Wall Street "became the ideal petri dish favoring risk and consequently, favoring men" (we all know how that worked out), a culling process she calls “unnatural selection.”
"In the 1970s and 1980s, broker-dealers abandoned private partnerships in order to raise outside capital and grow. As firms merged or went public, risk became institutionalized while rewards were paid out to profit generators. A 30-year period of steadily declining interest rates meant that taking risk became the best way to make more money from money. Giant bonuses fed a cycle of arrogance that flushed out the naysayers.
Indeed, in extensive research on “decision traps,” men appear more susceptible than women to what is called an “overconfidence bias.” “The evolution of overconfidence,” a 2011 study published in the science journal, Nature, concluded that “overconfidence maximizes individual fitness…as long as benefits from contested resources are sufficiently large.” “Sufficiently large” could well describe bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars to individual Wall Street traders and bankers. The cost of poor judgment to any individual: often no worse than dismissal with a generous severance package. Over the years, many cooler heads on Wall Street, men and women alike, found they were just not picked for the team.”
But judging from all of the other women in the story, who were pushed out of Wall Street and landed at boutique firms and consulting gigs where they don’t have to work 80 hours a week and won’t be denied promotions because they have children, you might not want to play for that team anyway.
Most Viewed Stories
11 Pairs of Unflattering Pants That Will Make You Look Ugly-Cool
Succumb to the Siren Song of Unflattering Pants
Ivanka Trump Reportedly Bribed Her Angry Neighbors With Baked Goods
Female Dragonflies Fake Their Own Deaths to Avoid Males
Don’t Follow Pippa Middleton’s ‘Extremely Restrictive’ Wedding Diet
Life Lessons From the Great Fyre Festival Disaster
Millie Bobby Brown Has Some Simple Makeup Tips She’d Like to Share
Hey, Did You Know That French Presidential Candidate Emmanuel Macron Is Married to His High-School Teacher?
Khloe Kardashian Sued for Sharing Photo of Khloe Kardashian
An Ohio Woman Was Found Captive in a Pit in Her Neighbor’s Shed
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesA Holiday Season Weekend Through London
A good guide for avid The Crown fans.It’s About Time You Learned Tove Lo’s Name
The singer has crafted pop hits you’ve heard a thousand times by now.Marina Abramovic Has Outlasted Her Lovers and, She Hopes, Her Critics
The world's most famous performance artist at 70.The Wing: Do Women Still Need a Space of Their Own?
This exclusive social club for women, is part sorority, part start-up.In Virtual Reality, Women Run the World
A new generation of female artists is making VR the most diverse corner of the male-dominated tech space.The Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.Unknown NFL Player Tries to Get Attention by Asking Aly Raisman Out in Video
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.