The Return of the Boom-Boom Room

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Sallie Krawcheck recently left her job as president of the Global Wealth and Investment Management division of Bank of America. Nathaniel Popper of the LA Times tells the broader story:

The financial industry, long known for its boys-club environment, has only a small fraction of women as top executives. And that small cadre has been thinning out in recent years, with the most recent example Krawcheck’s departure as BofA’s president of global wealth management. Her departure is part of a broader trend in the financial industry in recent years: Female employees are losing their jobs at a faster clip than men. From 2007 to 2010, 12.5% of women in the financial industry lost their jobs, compared with 8.8% of men, according to an analysis of government statistics by the Economic Policy Institute. By comparison, in the overall economy during the same period, it was men who lost jobs at a higher rate.

….The finance industry has not historically been known as a welcoming place for women. The cigar and strip-club reputation was confirmed by a lawsuit against Smith Barney in the 1990s, which accused it of turning a blind eye to raunchy, sexist behavior. The lawsuit later became the subject of a book called “Tales From the Boom-Boom Room.”

The attention brought by the suit spurred wide-scale changes that helped stamp out overt discrimination and open up hiring. A decade ago, the number of women in finance was rising.

Well, that was nice while it lasted, I suppose. The irony here, of course, is that you can make a pretty good case that the entire credit bubble of the aughts — and the subsequent massive recession caused by its bursting — was basically a product of male testosterone run amok. So what’s the answer during the cleanup stage? Get rid of the women!

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