New York stock trader Maureen Sherry says Wall Street is rife with sexism but that when she began lactating she was subjected to even more humiliation by her male counterparts. Sherry notes that her male colleagues would moo at her, and one co-worker allegedly also drank some of her breast milk that she stored in the office fridge. Sherry says that the harassment was nothing new to women on Wall Street and that the few women that worked at firm Bear Stearns sat together in a group that the men referred to as “Estrogen Row.”
The Daily Mail reports that women trading on Wall Street are rare as the field is dominated by men. However, the few women that make it into trade firms are not in the clear. Former trader Maureen Sherry says that women are subjected to harassment from their male counterparts and that the male-dominated industry is not shy about making it known that women must give up their families if they want to have a career in the business. Therefore, when a woman gets pregnant, has a family or, heaven-forbid, is lactating, the situation only gets worse.
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) January 23, 2016
Sherry claims that during her time at firm Bear Stearns she was humiliated by male co-workers when she began lactating. Sherry says that the males in the office would moo at her when she entered the room and that once she was forced to walk down a hall to a nurse’s office with her breast pump as her coworkers mooed at her. The former trader says that in addition to the moos, a male co-worker once drank her breast milk. She notes that, on one occasion, a male co-worker removed the breast milk she was storing in the office fridge and took a shot of it.
While Sherry says she ignored many of the men’s sexual comments and harassment, she ultimately left her job as a trader because she didn’t want to work in a frat house.
“I ignored the time someone taped torn panties on my screen when I came back from my honeymoon. I don’t want to hear slut jokes all day long. I don’t want to work in a frat house.”
Sherry notes that the sexism starts before a woman is ever hired on with the firm. For example, Sherry says one male co-worker noted that the firm should only hire women who had brothers growing up because they would be “used to the banter.” It was also reported that men would debate in meetings about whether to hire a woman or not and that one female trader noticed a picture of breasts drawn on the top of her CV during an interview.
— Lawrence (@lawrencedg) January 8, 2016
After she was hired on, things only got worse according to Sherry. In fact, she says the woman sat together at Bear Stearns and that the men referred to the area as “Estrogen Row.” She says men would constantly play jokes on the women about their fertility or need to not get pregnant. She says she once opened a box of pizza to find condoms instead of pepperoni slices, a prank she says the men played on the women to remind them to not get pregnant.
— The Independent (@Independent) July 1, 2015
She says the harassment against women continued on the trading floor, where women would be called over to an area that included the highest earning men, aptly called the “Dais of the D***s,” where women would be subjected to what Sherry called “Game of Thrones” style punishments. She says that she ultimately left her career on Wall Street due to the male-domination of the industry and said it wasn’t worth the cost. She says that the successful women in the trade had to give up their families to reach the same level as the men. Therefore, she decided to quit, took a MFA from Columbia University in nonfiction writing, and is now a writer.
What do you think about the rampant sexism in the Wall Street trade world? Does it surprise you?
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