The story of women on Wall Street is the story of women in America. Issues of self-determination, freedom and financial independence clashed with societal norms in the traditionally male domain of finance. Until recent decades, women had largely been excluded from Wall Street.
Despite this, there were women who defied convention and made a name for themselves in finance. Abigail Adams realized the advantages of trading bonds over purchasing farmland, and eventually persuaded her husband to her point of view. Victoria Woodhull opened a brokerage on Wall Street and used her earnings to finance her iconoclastic newspaper. Hetty Green wrested control of her inheritance from the trustees of her family’s estate so that she could manage it herself. These pioneering women battled for both personal and financial self-determination.
During the 20th century, women slowly began joining the ranks of professionals on Wall Street as equals. Isabel Benham was one of the first women to be named partner at a Wall Street firm, and Muriel Siebert was the first woman to purchase a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1967—the lone woman amongst over 1,300 men.
Women have since made great strides towards equality. Learn about these women’s contributions to Wall Street history, and hear top female executives in finance today speak to the changes they have seen over the course of their careers—and discover how the inclusion of women has changed the financial services industry and the American workforce as a whole.