I am a woman who works in finance.
When I originally studied finance I only went into it because I liked playing games with numbers and through some courses I had taken I recognized that there was a way to make money by solving the same math problems for other people. I was not aware of the ever-present and violent sexism within finance that I had come to realize after working in the industry.
Sexism was not thoroughly explained to me when I was young and thus when it had been occurring to me I was confused by it but shrugged it off as I was not educated on the area. When I had started to become more and more aware of the sexist things that people had been saying to me, or the opportunities that I had missed out on due to my sex, the nuances of the way society treats me, the way men speak to me, the way men view me, I realized that sexism had shaped the entirety of my life and every other woman's life and in turn, every man's life.
I innocently headed into finance to play my number games and I was met with egotistical men that put women on their pamphlets to be viewed as progressive to attract women to their firms just to talk down to them (feeding their egos further) and only provide lesser opportunities for them (so they can keep their high-paying deals to feed their egos further).
Recently I was a part of an investment fund as the only female on the team alongside 30 men. Naturally, the men told me I was in charge of attracting more females to the team to be more outwardly progressive and for a few months I ran events to advertise the fund to young females and talk about the benefits of being on the fund and the team was happy with my work. Then, I felt a pit in my stomach. A feeling of guilt. I had just encouraged many young women to join a team who talks over me, puts a lesser value to my opinion, and makes assumptions about my intelligence before I open my mouth. Their fate would certainly be the same if they decided to heed my advice. Did I just encourage these young women to join something that they will face copious amounts of sexism in?
It is no secret that women cannot hide from sexism no matter the scenario, however there are professions that are more heavily concentrated by females and I would imagine that their dealings with sexism are more minimal. This made me think about how ethical it is to encourage women to join adversity. I would much rather look at a younger version of myself and encourage her to join something she was passionate about that she would be treated equally in. No one wants to sign up for adversity.
Thus I have decided to no longer hide the dealings of sexism that I have endured when speaking to women about my career or the funds that I have been a part of. This may not make them eager to follow my path or join the groups that I am a part of however it is the only way I can feel that I have not lied to other women about the reality of sexism in finance. Despite what their marketing may advertise, no firm has or ever will be able to create a bubble to keep sexism out.
The experiences I have had made me question, why should I continue in finance, why not find an area that is not filled with sexism? The first I would be remiss to not recognize, things are improving. There are many things that I have not had to deal with that women in the past have fought for and succeeded. I am eternally grateful for these women. The second being future-looking, I want to make things easier for the young women to come who just like me, liked playing math games or even those who just want to make money. Also, for the women of colour who have even more adversity beyond sexism. Those are my only reasons to keep going and to keep being honest.