A Woman on Wall Street – Gender Equality in Business?


A Woman on Wall Street – Gender Equality in Business?

How to build a career as a female executive, entrepreneur or manager

Routine and strict financial rules can be extremely exhausting; especially in Wall Street when you have had to recurrently perform a similar task and deal with similar crises for decades. This may result in despondency, or even worse questioning yourself if indeed your career is what you have to live with for the remainder of your life. What started as a securities and commodities trading spot; where local merchants and financiers would implement a culture and tradition of government debt and state licensed monopolies trade slowly evolved into quite an exciting multifaceted environment. It is no longer a place where only men in suits roam around loudly buying and selling stock but rather a place where prominent, well-learned women are fighting for their place to swim with the big sharks. 

Men and women are still paid differently

In my daily work as a change consultant and keynote speaker, I experience one thing on a consistent basis: In as much as women on Wall Street may be looked at from the outside as warriors and role models, they still have to face a lot of criticism and backlash on just that… being “women” on Wall Street. It has been reported by CNN that women of Wall Street have a pay grade way lower than that of their male counterparts. This means a man and woman holding the same position at the same office, are allegedly paid differently. 

Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses

As a man, I’m not in a position to tell any single woman how she should treat her career. However, there are certain patterns I observe over and over again when working with female managers, executives and entrepreneurs. Based on these experiences, my advice is the following: Women need to realise their level of sensitivity in this harsh world. This is not to say women are weak or unable to perform tasks that men can. If that had been the case, the hardest task of childbirth would not have been specifically allocated to women. On top of that, the historical view of what was said to be a disadvantage or unfair task of women having to be the ones staying home, cooking, cleaning, looking after the kids and still ensuring that everyone is healthy and well dressed- would not have been allocated to women. This takes us back to looking at the measure of strength. It does not matter how far you can throw a giant log of wood, or how much faster you can sprint, or even how heavy you can carry. The only relevance of the latter is of prehistoric times of the ruthless Roman Olympics and wars between nations. Where else would you need such abilities in this day and age? Because if anything at all, those things are regarded as talent and are still not witnessed in every man. 

A much-needed mindset shift

The secret of humanity lies in the sensitivity mentioned above. It is the strength you have to possess to be silent in pain, report to work on the day of your cycle; or carrying your belly for months on end and still manage to hit all the deadlines. It is in the ability to notice inappropriate comments and the courage to voice them out that makes women powerful, more especially those surrounded by gallons of testosterone. This is not to say men are useless or unneeded, it is also not to say that their hard work is unnoticed. This is simply to remind women of Wall Street that they’re efforts are appreciated all over the world. Forget the scandals and the hardships, these women are the beacon from which people from all over the world look upon. The going gets tough every now and then and it is perhaps a good idea to implement new adjustments to the currently existing routine. To block out all the anxiety and stress received from the outside, you have to have a certain “mantra” to go by: in layman’s terms. Anxiety is just a habit we repeat without realising, which therefore becomes a pattern of thought. You need to realise, however, that if you shift your mind you will be interrupting what is known as the Basal Ganglia, where the habit loops play around. 

Change your routines – change your results

You have to replace those anxious thoughts with exciting thoughts, in order to break free from always being afraid or being hesitant on standing tall as a woman in the Old White Men’s Club. This helps awaken your prefrontal cortex; meaning you can now place a little mantra that you know will help keep you excited instead of in fear. This could be thinking about your kids, or that position that you know for sure you’re going to get. It could even be thinking about that new pair of shoes you know will be in your hands by the end of the week, just to reward yourself for being a hard worker. Implementing a routine could also be another way of adding a bit of excitement to your life. You can add a few changes; instead of always waking up and rushing in the New York traffic or running into individuals who bump your cab, even spilling coffee and staining your only white outfit that is still white. Consider doing something you have not done before in your whole entire life. Wake up an hour or two early, journal your thoughts, be intentional, make a to-do list. Join a gym that you can go to before the city wakes up. Challenge your whole self to be the woman of your dreams and see how your job becomes more enjoyable and how all the negativity around you just floats away. 

Purpose is the foundation for everything

As a woman in Wall Street, always remember the power you hold. Always remember the responsibility on your shoulders and that you are a role model and hero to everyone around you. You represent the promises of the country and the American dream. In closing, there are a couple of words in my latest piece of work (The Changemaker Mindset – Why Innovation and Change starts with an Inner Transformation) that just won´t stop speaking to me on a daily basis. Firstly, It would be difficult to navigate your way through life if to have not identified your principles. Having those non-negotiable core principles helps define your purpose. Secondly, the people you surround yourself with determine the miles you run. Corny as that may sound the fact of the matter is: nobody wins alone. Finally; once you have established your purpose and acquired a strong inner circle of peers, start implementing change! Persistence and taking action will get you the results you’ve always dreamed of. 

Best wishes and let the change begin!

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