Women of the New York Stock Exchange
Women’s leadership has played an integral role in the 230-year-long history of the New York Stock Exchange.
The historic institution has been around since the 1700s. In the early days of the New York Stock Exchange, women were excluded from the exchange dominated by men.
In 1943, when World War II came, Helen Hanzelin, a Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Beane telephone clerk, became the first woman to work on the NYSE Trading Floor.
Another three dozen women answered the country’s call to duty and filled vacant posts vacated by soldiers sent overseas on the trading floor but were booted out when the war ended, and men returned home.
It wasn’t until 1967 that the first woman — Muriel Siebert — bought a seat and became a New York Stock Exchange member, which was instrumental in developing the NYSE’s rules, regulations, and operations today.
Since then, women have been breaking glass ceilings and forging their paths to success in finance and fintech.
Here’s HER story.
Arriving in 1954, Muriel Siebert was hired as an entry-level research analyst on Wall Street. However, she was soon placing stock orders for clients directly.
After Muriel learned she was being paid less than a man to do the same work (60% of what the men received, may I add), she asked a client what large firm she could go to to be paid equally.
They would tell her to stop being ridiculous because they won’t. The only way to earn the same amount as a man would be to buy a seat at the NYSE for herself.
So she did.
Muriel’s application to buy a seat at the NYSE turned Wall Street upside down.
“They said we’ve never had a woman apply,” she shared in an interview. “Nobody would dare to apply. So I was creating something no one had ever done before.”
On December 27, 1967, Siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
She was the lone woman amongst 1,375 members. In 1977, she was appointed Superintended of Banks for New York State, the first woman to hold the post.
A passionate advocate for financial literacy and women’s rights, she founded the Muriel Siebert Foundation, which provided financial education to low-income women and minorities in 1977. She was also a founding member of the Committee of 200, an organization of the world’s most successful businesswomen.
Throughout her career, Siebert was widely recognized for her accomplishments. She was named one of the most influential women in the financial industry by the Wall Street Journal in 1996, and in 1999 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Muriel Siebert dubbed the “First Lady of Wall Street,” was an inspirational figure in the world of finance, and her legacy lives on in the many women she has inspired to pursue careers in the industry.
Muriel’s bias toward action paved the way for more women to break glass ceilings:
1972. Juanita Kreps became the first woman named to the NYSE Board of Directors.
1976. Marsha O’Bannon, Assistant Vice-President of Planning Services, becomes the NYSE’s first female officer. Alice Jarcho became the second woman to be a Member.
1980. Amy W. Newkirk became the first woman to hold a specialist position.
1984. Evelyn Rodriguez became the first Hispanic female member.
1985. Gail Pankey becomes the first African American female member. 85 NYSE member seats are held by women.
1988. Louise Jones, the co-founder of Cassidy, Jones, & Co, becomes the youngest woman to own a seat on the NYSE and one of 18 women to become a member of the exchange that year.
1990s. Females accounted for 9% of all individuals working on the NYSE Trading Floor, approximately 450 women.
1994. Mogavero, Lee & Co. became the first member firm owned and operated by women.
1997. Anne Allen was named senior vice president of NYSE floor operations and was in charge of overseeing the trading floor and implementing the Integrated Technology Program. The program led to the technical overhaul of the trading floor, including the installation of wireless networks, the use of handheld technology, and the first commercial use of flat-screen technology.
1999. Karen Nelson Hackett, head of floor operations for ING Baring Furman Selz LLC, became the first female floor governor after 28 years on the NYSE trading floor.
2002. Catherine Kinney, named NYSE Co-COO and co-President, reported to the NYSE CEO and Chairman.
2004. Mogavero, Lee & Co’s principal, Doreen Mogavero, became the first woman named to the NYSE Board of Executives to help restructure the exchange. Mogavero was one of two members appointed to the Regulation, Enforcement, and Listing Standard Committee and chaired the Market Performance Committee.
2017. Lauren Simmons, at age 22, became the youngest and only full-time female trader at the New York Stock Exchange. She’s only the second African American female broker.
2018. Stacey Cunningham is named 67th President of the NYSE Group. Her appointment came after a 24-year career in finance, which began on the NYSE trading floor as an intern in 1994.
2022. Lynn Martin took over as the 68th President of the NYSE.
From Muriel Siebert to Lauren Simmons, these women have been inspiring role models for generations of women in the financial sector and have made great strides in fighting for gender parity in the exchange.
And last night, on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, over 300 women gathered to honor each other as 2022’s Inspiring Females in Fintech hosted by NYC Women in Fintech.
I’m beyond humbled and grateful to be one of the honorees.
Entrepreneurs change the world. To see all these women in the fintech industry who are building to solve problems differently and who are helping create the solutions of tomorrow, I couldn’t be more honored to be there with you.
When you have a vision, trust it and take action. Trust your process. Last night’s celebration is a testament to all your work to change the world.
And I’m honored to be there with you, capturing it all.