The non-profit Catalyst released a survey yesterday of the status of women in seven top Wall Street securities firms. The study was commissioned in the settlement of a sex-discrimination lawsuit against Smith Barney, and explores gender issues in Wall Street workplaces. One-third of women reported a hostile work environment, in which they had to put up with unwanted sexual attention, crude remarks, or unequal treatment. Less than 50 percent of the men and women surveyed felt that promotions were decided fairly.
The hostile environment and biased promotion practices may be deterring women from entering careers on Wall Street. In a 1996 survey, women composed only 29 percent of enrollment in America’s top ten business school programs. Dee A. Soder, managing partner in the CEO Perspective Group remarks that because corporations are not amenable to women, they “are now losing many of the best and the brightest.”