A recent article – Leaning Out: Number of Women in Finance Declines explains that in the decade between 2002 and 2012, 200,000 women left the finance industry. During that same period, 237,000 men joined the industry. And at management levels, the percent of women declined from already low levels. The article goes on to say that the declining numbers are a mystery especially in light of the fact that fully 40% of people getting MBAs are women. So what gives here?
A Sunday article in the New York Times Harvard Case Study: Gender Equitydetails the changes made for the Harvard MBA class of 2013. Harvard’s first female president Drew Gilpin Faust appointed a new dean who pledged to do far more than his predecessors to remake gender relations at the business school. Prior to this two year experiment, “some male students, many with finance backgrounds, commandeered classroom discussions and hazed female students and younger faculty members, and openly ruminated on whom they would “kill, sleep with or marry (in cruder terms).” Then facing life after school, “this was the lopsided situation that women in business school were facing: in intellectual prestige, they were pulling even with or outpacing male peers, but they were not “touching the money,” as Nori Gerardo Lietz, a real estate private equity investor and faculty member, put it.”
And here is my favorite: At an extracurricular
As part of the two year experiment, they taught women to speak up more in class and be more assertive in defending their opinions. They also found it necessary to install stenographers in the classroom to guard against biased grading. The result? The grade gap had vaporized so fast that no one could quite say how it happened. In 2009, women at HBS represented 36% of the class and just 14% of students in the top 5% of the class. In 2013, women made up 40% of the students and 38% of the top 5% of the class. Amazing what those women could achieve when the harassment and bias were removed. If more schools follow Harvard’s lead, we may solve the mystery of the missing women in finance.
Also please note that we added a FREE wine tasting in Houston to the calendar for next week, so grab a friend and join us for a glass of wine!
See you all at an event soon!