Fall 2012: Fisher Abstract

Wall Street Women and the Gendered Culture of Corporate Finance
Melissa Fisher 

Far more than any of its predecessors, the 2008 financial crisis was depicted in strikingly gendered terms – with many commentators articulating a divide between masculine, greedy, risk-taking behavior and feminine, conservative, risk-averse approaches for healing the crisis. For a time, academics, journalists, and women on Wall Street appeared to be in some agreement in identifying women’s feminine styles and qualities as uniquely suited to lead – even repair – the economic debacle. Indeed, some (mainly women) saw a potential “cure” for the financial system in the further advancement of women into senior leadership positions. These commentators believed that reforming financial institutions and corporate practices would require not only re-regulating the economy but also recasting the gendered culture of finance. Drawing on nearly two decades of field work with women in financial professions, this talk explores the recent evolution in the gendering of Wall Street as well as the potential effects of that evolution.

Return to Styles and Cultures of the Corporation