Ladies of the Ticker: Pioneering Women Stockbrokers from the 1880s to the 1920s in New York..

George Robb (Prof of History at William Paterson University of New Jersey) has a nice piece:

During the late 19th century, a growing number of women were finding employment in banking and insurance, but not on Wall Street. Probably no area of American finance offered fewer job opportunities to women than stock broking. In her 1863 survey, The Employments of Women, Virginia Penny, who was usually eager to promote new fields of employment for women, noted with approval that there were no women stockbrokers in the United States. Penny argued that “women could not very well conduct the business without having to mix promiscuously with men on the street, and stop and talk to them in the most public places; and the delicacy of woman would forbid that.”

The radical feminist Victoria Woodhull did not let delicacy stand in her way when she and her sister opened a brokerage house near Wall Street in 1870, but she paid a heavy price for her audacity. The scandals which eventually drove Woodhull out of business and out of the country cast a long shadow over other women’s careers as brokers.

Histories of Wall Street rarely mention women brokers at all. They might note Victoria Woodhull’s distinction as the nation’s first female stockbroker, but they don’t discuss the subject again until they reach the 1960s. This neglect is unfortunate, as it has left generations of pioneering Wall Street women hidden from history. These extraordinary women struggled to establish themselves professionally and to overcome chauvinistic prejudice that a career in finance was unfeminine.

….

The first generation of women stockbrokers faced great resistance, but they chipped away at the old boys’ network on Wall Street that sought to exclude
and marginalize them. They carved out a niche for themselves as advisers and liaisons to women investors. They helped break barriers to women’s employment in brokerage firms, and they made it possible for women today to have greater financial opportunities.

Hmm..

What about women stock brokers in India? Is there any such history?

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One Response to “Ladies of the Ticker: Pioneering Women Stockbrokers from the 1880s to the 1920s in New York..”

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