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  • Wall Street Women

    Author(s): Melissa S. Fisher
    Published: 2012
    Pages: 240
    Illustrations: 3 photographs
  • Paperback: $22.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5345-4
  • Cloth: $79.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5330-0
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction. Wall Street Women  1
    1. Beginnings  27
    2. Careers, Networks, and Mentors  66
    3. Gendered Discourses of Finance  95
    4. Women's Politics and State-Market Feminism  120
    5. Life after Wall-Street  136
    6. Market Feminism, Feminizing Markets, and the Financial Crisis  155
    Notes  175
    Bibliography  201
    Index  217
  • “While there is no shortage of voices that bemoan the continuing gender inequality on contemporary Wall Street, Wall Street Women allows readers to understand just how far women have come in recent decades. Though this does not excuse the lack of women in the corner office, at least it allows us to take a break from the hand wringing over the subject and appreciate the accomplishments of some unsung heroes of the slow but steady feminization of finance.” — Terrence Murray, The Financialist

    “Extensively researched and thoroughly documented, this portrait of a pioneering generation of women provides context for understanding the emergent discourse of feminizing markets. Strongly recommended for readers interested in business anthropology or gender studies, particularly
    for gendered discourses of finance and the female financial elite.” — Rebekah Wallin, Library Journal

    “Fisher shows how women who made it on Wall Street deftly deployed their supposedly innate risk-averse qualities to stay afloat long term. . . . [W]e get the pleasure of hearing conversations that normally take place behind closed doors. When the women dish about the guys in the office, they really dish.” — Elizabeth Dwoskin, Bloomberg Businessweek

    “Fisher . . . combines the detached curiosity of an anthropologist studying the folkways of a tribal village with a sure grasp of history, politics, and economics, as well as an affectionate regard for her subjects, a small group of highly successful women who entered Wall Street in the ’60s.” — Publishers Weekly

    “[A] well-researched and enlightening account. . . . Ethnographers in all fields can also benefit from Fisher’s approach, which consists of a combination of individual interviews, observation of and participation in association meetings where the women networked, and a final group discussion.” — Maria Siano, ForeWord Reviews

    Reviews

  • “While there is no shortage of voices that bemoan the continuing gender inequality on contemporary Wall Street, Wall Street Women allows readers to understand just how far women have come in recent decades. Though this does not excuse the lack of women in the corner office, at least it allows us to take a break from the hand wringing over the subject and appreciate the accomplishments of some unsung heroes of the slow but steady feminization of finance.” — Terrence Murray, The Financialist

    “Extensively researched and thoroughly documented, this portrait of a pioneering generation of women provides context for understanding the emergent discourse of feminizing markets. Strongly recommended for readers interested in business anthropology or gender studies, particularly
    for gendered discourses of finance and the female financial elite.” — Rebekah Wallin, Library Journal

    “Fisher shows how women who made it on Wall Street deftly deployed their supposedly innate risk-averse qualities to stay afloat long term. . . . [W]e get the pleasure of hearing conversations that normally take place behind closed doors. When the women dish about the guys in the office, they really dish.” — Elizabeth Dwoskin, Bloomberg Businessweek

    “Fisher . . . combines the detached curiosity of an anthropologist studying the folkways of a tribal village with a sure grasp of history, politics, and economics, as well as an affectionate regard for her subjects, a small group of highly successful women who entered Wall Street in the ’60s.” — Publishers Weekly

    “[A] well-researched and enlightening account. . . . Ethnographers in all fields can also benefit from Fisher’s approach, which consists of a combination of individual interviews, observation of and participation in association meetings where the women networked, and a final group discussion.” — Maria Siano, ForeWord Reviews

  • "Detecting gendering in high finance is a long-standing challenge—it is a domain inhospitable to the main categories of feminist analysis. Melissa S. Fisher goes at it with gusto and gives us a great book."—Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights

    "Melissa Fisher's Wall Street Women introduces us to a feminist world that we can hardly imagine. As they dream of changing the hostile domain of finance, women find themselves drawing on traditional notions of gender equality and coaching each other in old-fashioned survival skills. Written in enticing prose, Wall Street Women offers us an illuminating peek into a wholly unexpected fusion of feminism with the market."—Alice Kessler-Harris, author of A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman

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  • Description

    Wall Street Women tells the story of the first generation of women to establish themselves as professionals on Wall Street. Since these women, who began their careers in the 1960s, faced blatant discrimination and barriers to advancement, they created formal and informal associations to bolster one another's careers. In this important historical ethnography, Melissa S. Fisher draws on fieldwork, archival research, and extensive interviews with a very successful cohort of first-generation Wall Street women. She describes their professional and political associations, most notably the Financial Women's Association of New York City and the Women's Campaign Fund, a bipartisan group formed to promote the election of pro-choice women.

    Fisher charts the evolution of the women's careers, the growth of their political and economic clout, changes in their perspectives and the cultural climate on Wall Street, and their experiences of the 2008 financial collapse. While most of the pioneering subjects of Wall Street Women did not participate in the women's movement as it was happening in the 1960s and 1970s, Fisher argues that they did produce a "market feminism" which aligned liberal feminist ideals about meritocracy and gender equity with the logic of the market.

    About The Author(s)

    Melissa Fisher is Visiting Assistant Professor at New York University's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. She is a coeditor of Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy, also published by Duke University Press.