Friday, October 31, 2008

"Why are Goldman's Women Invisible?"

Tuesday’s diary entry turned into a piece over at HuffPo they called “Why are Goldman’s Women Partners Invisible?” It is the most important piece of writing I have ever put out in to the world. The combination and timing of Goldman’s New Partner and MD Announcements, Bloomberg Market’s Magazines Cover piece on Lloyd Blankfein and the Goldman Alumni, and Goldman’s lack of comment to it, created a moment that I was called to respond to in a big way. CALLED. This piece is about the absence of Women’s Leadership, broadly. So if you are a woman at Goldman now, and reading this, please know I pray, pray, this piece helps and not hurts.


I continue to be so grateful to Goldman Sachs for so many things but on this issue, on the issue of Womens Leadership, I expect more of them. That is why I left six years ago, because I felt I had done all that I could do there and I was tired. (and I am sure many of the people there were tired of me) Well, I have gotten my energy back. That Bloomberg article ignited me.

Please think about posting a comment on the HUFFPO OPED if it resonates with you and link it around to everyone you know. Everyone. To those of you who are new to this blog, a big hearty welcome! Please join my mailing list to the right by entering your email address.

With so much going on in the markets right now and in the world in general, and so much going on within me, I've decided to put my thoughts out there in a new way. Through the newsletter, I'll share the lessons I learn from my various meetings with movers and shakers, links to what I'm reading, and news and views about money, markets, and changing the world--one purse at a time. I will also be asking other thought leaders to author letters as well. My dream is to make this effort a vehicle for empowerment and positive change. Simply enter your email address in the box to the right.

I just had a great idea. For all you women reading this… next year, let’s agree, to all wear Wonder Women costumes for Halloween! The more SHEROs in the world the better, even if it is just for one day. Actually..... I invite men to wear them too.

11 comments:

Margeware said...

I can't agree with you more! Obviously I'm prejudiced but this is yet another example of the fact that even though we're now "equal," we aren't....

Let's keep beating this drum especially as the Obama administration makes it's picks.

Margie Johnson Ware
Mount Holyoke 1971

Anonymous said...

If we are going to talk about women and professional endeavors, the professional fields have to be across the board.

How about women in scientific, mathematical, or engineering fields.

gracehopper org
anitaborg org
business and professional women
society of women engineers
women in technology international

In the US society, women mostly take care of the children, to be fair, that isn't 100%. But not all women have this calling. Instead they had the responsibility of taking care of the parents and grandparents. We hear about internships for the young. I recently heard about returnships for those that want to return to the workforce. What a great idea.

I never believed in women organizations. I grew up with a father that said anything is possible. I thought everyone was given equal opportunity. A couple of times in college, and a couple in the workforce. Now I understand the power of organizations.

Anonymous said...

Jacki,

Thank you so much for posting this article. As a recent business school graduate, and having concentrated in finance, I am already discouraged by the lack of women in top finance positions. Even in school I felt like a loner, being the only female in my investments course. I am so glad to see experienced women in the financial field showing an interest in "investing" in the careers of young women like myself. It would be great to have a mentor like yourself at the company I work for! I'll keep looking!
Thanks again,

Alexis Eastwood
University of Pittsburgh, 2008

JLB said...

GREAT article in Huffington Post. It lead me to the blog, I'm looking forward to it. Do you have a link where I can subscribe via feed?

Cynthia M. Revesz said...

Jacki,

Kudos to you on the great work you are doing to help women be financially empowered. I’ve never seen your blog before but absolutely LOVED your piece “Why are Goldman’s Women Invisible” on Huffington Post. As an associate at a Wall Street law firm over 15 years ago, I saw first hand the many ways that women were marginalized.

I just want to comment on what you said in your blog:

“We don't as a society value the work that women do (back to Leslie Bennetts book). We value money and the pursuit of money as the endgame.”

In our culture of materialism on steroids, the consensus thinking that making and spending money is the most valuable thing that one can do with one’s life is warped. When I see the carbon copy (male) bankers in their dark suits, I wonder if they’re awake enough to know that there is more to life than meets they eye, or are they just robots programmed to make all of their life decisions on the basis of whether a chosen option will make them money? I strongly believe that for women (and men, too) to be authentically empowered we have to think differently and not measure ourselves against the consensus model. We have to create the world as it could be and not buy into the consensus-thinking limited view of how things are. Hurray for the social entrepreneurs and people like yourself who are working for change.

Cynthia M. Revesz
New York, NY

Alexei Stakhanov said...

Dear Ms. Zehner, (I know, you can tell from that that this is a male...)

Thank you for your profound insights and wonderful writing on a grave problem that does not "go away" - even when in corporate/financial America we pretend that it has (or is going...) The treatment of women in our supposedly enlightened business institutions has been driving mad, maybe even crazy, for over thirty years. I would like to add four point from my experience.

First, because of our acculturation/socialization, men and women in 2008 America are NOT the same. Whether we will be the same in a society of true equality is something for anthropologists, psychologists and philosophers to debate. What has driven me "crazy" is that the acquired traits of women are often better for business than those of men! Still, they are denied equal opportunity and equal recognition - which, of course, go hand in hand.

Second, if the purpose of business is to maximize profit, women should note that a great part of discrimination is "explainable" in that the ultimate client, even women, for some reason often believe that men are "better at business" and choose the male service providers. I've seen male bozos with a tan and a low handicap easily outsell distinguished female professionals. I am noting this for a simple reason; to tell women who yearn for equal opportunity that given our culture we are in for a long haul. When I hear women say "we just have to change peoples' attitudes" I cannot shake off the feeling that they are thinking of a one-generation effort to successes. I think of the Magna Carta.

Third, I think of what I learned about the measure of equality for women in the workplace from a young "fellow" female manager that was my equal at Coopers & Lybrand in 1984. As Diane put it; "Women will be equal in the workplace not when the same number of distinguished man and women make it to the top. Women will be equal when the same number of incompetent men and women are mildly successful in their carriers." Typical, as in your case, the trumpet is sounded by a women who is extraordinary and has been highly successful. Since listening to Dianne, I've always felt that the discriminatory plight of the average women professional is greater, certainly cumulatively. There are many more of them.

Finally, there is the "anger." What I liked about your piece is that it did not have the persistent tone of anger and hurt that permeates the expressions on the subject of other female commentators . In fighting the good fight, that works much better in my experience. There are short people, fat people, darker skinned people, the disabled and the less smart - and as long as competitive instincts exist others will try to take unfair advantage of disliked yet un-germane traits of others. I've seen professional women fight for equality and give clear preference to the tall, the slim, the white, the gentile, etc. Let's all agree that we all discriminate at some point and CALMLY work to recognize that fact and fight its manifestations. Many men who want to cooperative and be reformed are turned off by the women who makes the case for woman's equality in the workforce as thought it was the only discriminatory issue around.


Thank you, again, for your wonderful insights, efforts and comments.

Dov Frishberg
New York City

Deborah Siegel said...

What margeware, anonymous, cynthia, and dov above are all saying is SO TRUE. If it weren't for people like you, Jacki, who are calling it as they see it, this world of ours would never change. I am energized by your spirit and I thank you for also inspiring the rest of us to do what we can to make things more fair, more equitable, more true.

Renee said...

Jacki, I am really enjoying your blog and your article about invisible women. I am going to send your blogsite to all of my friends-- in my field, we know little about the financial world and reading your entries is really educational!! Thanks for writing-- Renee

Linda Basch said...

That's great! This is required reading for all women in the financial sector!! Hope readers will also look at our post on the same issue. For more, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-basch/wall-street-meltdown-what_b_138341.html.

Anonymous said...

So true! Where are the women in the GS matrix? Where are you, Ann and Connie? GS, the premier financial institution is only a reflection of society at large. Far from being an "efficient frontier" model of maximizing resources and output. Hence, loss to GS as well as society as a whole. Yes, we need to gain that critical mass, voice and move forward in a different manner. You are so right about the press and media and how they only selectively choose what they think is important so they need to be "aware" and change their approach in covering stories.

Jacki, YOu are a natural LEADER and a KEY mentor to many!!!! Please do attend those welcoming breakfasts!!!

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