04/30/2014 4:51 PM
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I find these types of discussions interesting. FPA has had an ongoing discussion along these lines as well. As a woman who worked as a physicist (another underrepresented area) and provided feedback to the University of Memphis Engineering Dean on his efforts to increase diversity within undergrad and graduate students, it's okay to have this discussion, but to understand that men find this threatening or offputting or offensive.
The real issues can be about how women prefer to work as collaborators rather than competitors (and this is a competitive business), how they like to work in a team setting rather than a "go it alone" model, and how our American culture does not reward women for seeking technical/financial fields.
As a math and science teacher before I had children, one of my areas of emphasis was on why analytical thinking and mathematics as the language of analysis and science were actually kind of cool, but until we win the culture wars, that's a really hard sell for a lot of girls and women from middle school to postgraduates.
Also the reality for many women, despite Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book, is that there are many challenges related to being a wife and mother that are not the same for the husband/father. I am currently supporting a young mom (by using her services) in our profession who works out of her home because of young children. She has much less flexibility to be fully responsive to an employer's needs. I consider my work with her an investment in her future; however I think that very few employers are willing to make those kinds of allowances when it comes to their bottom line.
I would also love to see more minorities in the profession, but again I think we have to overcome the stereotypes. My own daughters have told me that financial stuff is too boring. Apparently forensic pathology and neurochemistry are MUCH more interesting to them. ("Geek" is a term of affection around our house.)
Ultimately, I think we all just want to make financial planning better as a profession and progress towards a perception of integrity and putting clients first. Thank you for reading this.
Last modified on 04/30/2014 4:52 PM by Jennifer Migdal