It’s a Mystery: Why Aren’t There More Women in the Financial Services Industry?

Why Aren’t There More Women in the Financial Services Industry? 

The Sunday, September 1 Star Tribune business section had an article about gender disparity in the financial services field: ‘Financial advisers seek to close gender gap’ by Jennifer Bjorhus.

Getting more women and minorities into financial services  is long overdue, and this effort by Edward Jones and other firms sounds great. “Edward D. Jones & Co. has been bolstering its Minnesota team, and its latest hiring of financial advisers include several women, which stands out in a male-dominated industry that has long struggled to diversify.”

Nick Lampi, regional leader at Edward Jones in Minneapolis says he doesn’t know why there aren’t more women in the industry.”It’s the million-dollar question,” Lampi said.

Really? You don’t know? Where have you been? Must be convenient amnesia or the heat blocking Lampi’s memory, because there has been plenty written about it. And plenty of lawsuits undertaken by women and minorities seeking legal remedies for unfair treatment at major financial companies like American Express, Merrill Lynch, and Smith Barney.

How about this one from way back in 2002 American Express Unit Agrees to Settle Sex Discrimination Case ?

Or 2005? Sex-Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Smith Barney

Or perhaps this is the mysterious “why” of the gender gap.

A new study by the American Economic Association helps shed light on the discrepancies on Wall Street: connections help men but not women.

This article Wall Street Women Talk Diversity  has some very interesting views What Women Say

So it seems that the reasons for the discrimination on Wall Street aren’t a mysterious unanswered million dollar question at all. The reasons are well-documented and have cost many of the large financial companies big bucks. So the “why” is known-it’s the “why not?” that isn’t happening. Why not take action to ensure that women and minorities have equal access to information and promotional advantages enjoyed by “the Big Boys?”  Now that’s a real million dollar question. It’s not a mystery at all.


About Karen

Karen Karsten, CPCC, CAC, has had several business careers, in government, finance, retail and publishing. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer and executive director of Rich Chicks and Creative Principle of Think You Can LLC.

Her companies, Think You Can ( and Rich Chicks ( both explore the magic of prosperity and creating clarity about life values. Karen has total faith in the magic of belief. Notice how that works either way: belief of magic, magic of belief. Magic is there—in you, too. Take a moment right now and honor the magic in you.


  1. Karen,
    Thank you for saying what many of us don’t have the guts to say. Even people like me who work to ensure strong pay equity laws hate to have to spell it out. And, apparently, strong pay equity laws don’t stop firms from discriminating or from, what we call in polite circles, succumbing to ‘cognitive bias.’

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