A recent study from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago found that testosterone is potentially linked to risk-taking. The higher the level of testosterone, the more risk one is willing to take. I think some risk is certainly healthy and frankly I would have never made it on Wall Street without engaging in career risk. In my first Wall Street job interview I found myself begging for a chance to prove that I could be successful. Luckily someone gave me that chance. At that time, it was 1995 and I was a high school teacher making $25,000 a year.
The National Council for Research on Women has released a new report entitled Women in Fund Management: A Road Map for Achieving Critical Mass – and Why it Matters which highlights the under-representation of women in the historically male-dominated spaces of fund management and financial services. Jacki Zehner, a Goldman Sachs partner and the youngest woman to achieve that status was recently profiled on the CBS Evening News story entitled “Does Wall Street Need More Women?” . Her foundation is a sponsor of the newly released report. Read about Jackie's commentary on the CBS News Story on her personal blog, Purse Pundit. She is truly paving the way for women in financial services and it is very exciting to see!
Some of the highlights? From the years 2000 through 2009, while all hedge funds were up 6% on average, those run by women were up 9%. In 2008, all mutual funds dropped 19% while those run by women were down less than 10%. These numbers are compelling and cannot be ignored.
It appears that women are more measured in their risk taking, they tend to collaborate more, and some would even say they are not driven by their egos (nor are many men). Rather, they keep the ego in check, and can balance out teams and boards if given the opportunities. I've witnessed this first-hand. Women are very well suited to make smart financial decisions and prudently manage the risks involved. The women fund managers who have been successful deserve to be recognized and it is exciting to see these types of stories being brought to the public eye.