Trump ef­fect bol­sters the bros of Wall Street

Women fear elec­tion di­a­logue will widen male-fe­male di­vide in the work­place, sur­vey finds

Toronto Star - - BUSINESS - KA­TIA PORZECANSKI BLOOMBERG

The snick­er­ing and the “nasty woman” jokes that echo across trad­ing floors when Hil­lary Clin­ton ap­pears on TV. The mansplain­ing from the boss on how locker-room talk re­ally is just locker-room talk, so get over it.

It’s never been easy to be a woman on Wall Street. But for many, this po­lar­iz­ing U.S. elec­tion sea­son has pulled at old wounds — and in some cases opened new ones — as the po­lit­i­cal vit­riol has spilled into the work­place.

Repub­li­cans and Democrats alike say the can­di­da­cies of Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton have prompted a new level of soul-search­ing about the bro cul­ture of Amer­i­can fi­nance. And who­ever wins next Tues­day, the ques­tions aren’t go­ing away.

In­ter­views con­ducted with more than a dozen women across the Wall Street spec­trum — from as young as 28 to as old as 66 and rep­re­sent­ing all types of firms big and small — paint a com­plex por­trait of how this elec­tion is shap­ing work­place con­ver­sa­tions and be­hav­iour in the in­dus­try.

Many older women in se­nior roles shrug and say at least things are bet­ter than they used to be. (Some ba­sic facts un­der­score that point: Women now make up al­most half of the work­force in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try, ha­rass­ment train­ing has be­come stan­dard and nu­mer­ous firms have started women-em­pow­er­ment ini­tia­tives.) Many younger women work­ing their way up, though, say the di­vi­sive­ness has made it blind­ingly clear there’s still a long way to go.

They’re both­ered by the uptick in edgy ban­ter they’ve de­tected from their male col­leagues as Trump ad­vanced in the cam­paign. And they won­der how they’ll ad­vance in their own ca­reers if their co-work­ers ques­tion Clin­ton’s fit­ness for the pres­i­dency be­cause she’s a woman.

For those try­ing to make it into se­nior man­age­ment, the scru­tiny of Clin­ton’s lik­a­bil­ity is par­tic­u­larly un­set­tling. The per cent of women in these Wall Street jobs falls to 26 per cent; at the very top, the num­ber slides fur­ther, to just 15 per cent, ac­cord­ing to con­sult­ing firm Mercer.

Yet some worry this elec­tion will only widen the male-fe­male di­vide on Wall Street. Mau­reen Sherry, a for­mer man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Bear Stearns Cos., said the long-term ef­fect may be that men on Wall Street will fur­ther cut fe­male col­leagues out of meet­ings and after-hour events for fear of of­fend­ing them.

“Men may feel like, in a so­cial sit­u­a­tion with the women they work with, they can’t let their hair down any longer,” said Sherry, au­thor of Open­ing Belle, a novel about women on Wall Street. “I think it’ll be more iso­lat­ing for women.”

LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

As Don­ald Trump ad­vanced in the cam­paign, Wall Street women be­came both­ered by the bro talk they de­tected from their male col­leagues.

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