Historic Girls in Finance and Enterprise

This Girls’s Historical past Month, we acknowledge girls who broke glass ceilings within the finance and enterprise industries. By shining a highlight on these 4 historic figures, we keep in mind all those that paved the best way for girls in these fields right this moment.  

These 4 historic people had been daring sufficient to be the one girls in a room of males and to say monetary titles and acquire wealth and affect girls had not earlier than. 

In accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 52% of economic actions staff in 2021 had been girls.1 Nonetheless, there’s nonetheless work for equal gender illustration in funds. In accordance with a report by Deloitte, girls solely held 21% of C-suite positions in American monetary establishments in 2021.2 

“Girls’s voices should be heard,” mentioned Senior Vice President of Lending Elizabeth Million of Elevations. 

She suggested girls who’re advised they will’t work in male-dominated locations ought to take that as motivation. “Don’t inform me I can’t succeed or received’t be of worth,” Million mentioned. “When somebody says you aren’t priceless, use that as motivation to show them mistaken.” 

Million emphasizes the significance of equal gender illustration in finance, as girls are an under-served inhabitants. By supporting each other, girls can proceed to achieve affect within the finance trade. 

This month, we have fun, honor and acquire inspiration from these historic girls of finance. By recognizing how far we’ve come and honoring the highly effective girls who shattered gender boundaries, we acquire inspiration to proceed making strides for equality. 

Maggie Lena Walker 

A portrait photograph of Maggie Walked with an artistic filter

First girl in America to constitution a financial institution and function its president 

Maggie Lena Walker based the St. Luke Penny Financial savings Financial institution in 1903. Within the segregated South, the financial institution helped members of the native Black group discover financial independence.3 

Walker was a baby of slaves. Tragically, her father died younger, leaving the household at a loss emotionally and financially. She labored as a trainer earlier than later getting concerned with the finance world.3 

“Let a girl select her personal vocation simply as man does his,” she mentioned in a public speech. “Let her go into enterprise, let her earn money, let her turn out to be impartial, if attainable, of man.”4 

After she had left instructing, she opened a group insurance coverage firm for girls earlier than founding the St. Louis Penny Financial savings Financial institution. Her Black-owned financial institution grew to 50,000 members and survived the Nice Despair whereas many others collapsed.3 

Walker was co-founder of the Richmond chapter of the NAACP and founding father of the Richmond Council of Coloured Girls, which raised cash for native causes.5 

A political activist, she fought for girls’s proper to vote and in opposition to discrimination and segregation. She organized a boycott in opposition to streetcar segregation in Virginia.5  

Walker was additionally a high-level member of the Impartial Order of St. Luke’s, an African American group to assist the sick. There, she began publishing the group’s newspaper, The St. Luke Herald.5 

Muriel Siebert 

Photo of Muriel Siebert holding a phone and smiling

First girl to purchase a seat on the New York Inventory Alternate 

Muriel “Mickie” Siebert was the primary girl to purchase a seat on the New York Inventory Alternate (NYSE). Regardless of resistance from buyers and guidelines from the NYSE, in 1967, she received a seat and later opened her brokerage, Muriel Siebert & Co., Inc. She spent 10 years as the one girl working with greater than 1,000 males on the NYSE.6  

“There have been no feminine function fashions, so I simply blazed my very own path,” she mentioned. 

When she first began in New York finance, Siebert labored on Wall Avenue. Annoyed by the inequality she skilled and searching for gender pay parity, she set her eyes on the NYSE.6  

It took two years to discover a man to sponsor her seat and a financial institution to mortgage her $300,000 for the seat, which value $445,000 whole. She began Muriel Siebert & Firm in 1969 and have become New York’s first feminine superintendent of banking in 1977. After twenty years of sitting on the NYSE, the establishment lastly put in their first girls’s restroom. Siebert had threatened to herald a transportable bathroom if her request was denied. 8 

In 1990, she began the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Plan to assist patrons give cash to charities. Siebert directed the New York Metropolis’s Municipal Credit score Union, City Growth Company, and Job Growth Authority.8 

She acquired 17 honorary doctorates and was inducted into the Nationwide Girls’s Corridor of Fame in 1994. Siebert Corridor is the primary room within the NYSE to be named after an individual.8 

Abigail Adams 

Photograph of Abigail Adams in a bonnet and collar

First feminine investor in America 

Abigail Adams used shares and bonds to develop her household’s funds, saying it was “cash which I name mine” when it was legally her husband’s.9 

Abigail Adams was the spouse of President John Adams and mom of President John Quincy Adams. She was the primary First Girl to reside within the White Home.9  

She was an adviser to her husband, John Adams, at a time when girls couldn’t vote or run for workplace and educated herself by way of her household’s library at a time when girls’s entry to schooling was restricted.9 

Adams is famend for the letters she wrote to her husband. In a single significantly well-known letter, she requested her husband to make sure the Founding Fathers “keep in mind the women.” She mentioned, “Don’t put such limitless energy into the fingers of the husbands. Keep in mind all males could be tyrants if they may.”10 

She went on to warn that if girls wouldn’t be thought-about within the new America, they’d insurgent. “If specific care and a focus shouldn’t be paid to the women, we’re decided to foment a riot and won’t maintain ourselves sure by any legal guidelines wherein we have now no voice or illustration,” Adams wrote.10 

Adams fought for girls’s rights, together with a girl’s proper to schooling, and opposed slavery.  

Ursula Burns 

Photo of Ursula Burns smiling with a natural background

The primary Black girl to run a Fortune 500 firm 

Ursula Burns was CEO of Xerox from 2009-2016, the place she began as an intern in 1981.11  

Raised in a New York Metropolis housing venture by a single, immigrant mom, Burns attended a non-public highschool earlier than incomes a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from present-day New York College.11 

She calls the state-created scholarship program that despatched her there “important” in that it saved her from graduating with $80,000 in debt. Burns then acquired her grasp’s in engineering by attending a scholarship program for minorities from Xerox. The scholarship included a summer time internship on the firm.11 

Burns continued as a full-time worker, then step by step labored her method up engineering positions till she turned vice chairman of world manufacturing and, ultimately, CEO.11 

At a time when the corporate was fighting declining income, she helped Xerox increase to rely extra on providers and was not simply copiers. Burns stepped down in 2016 after Xerox break up into the brand new Xerox and Conduent. 12  

Throughout her tenure as CEO, she was additionally a member of the President’s Export Council.14 Burns additionally helped discovered Change the Equation, a non-profit led by CEOs and launched by the Obama administration to extend STEM schooling. She now offers management counseling to organizations together with MIT and the U.S. Olympic Committee.13  

Individuals usually declared to Burns that she have to be a genius, assuming that’s the solely method she might be a CEO as a black girl. She mentioned, “I’m not wonderful. I’m right here as a result of I’m nearly as good as you.”15 

Celebrating Girls’s Progress 

Throughout the month of March, we acknowledge these 4 girls amongst others who made strides for gender equality within the monetary trade.  

“Girls really want to help different girls,” Million mentioned. “It’s necessary to shut gender and variety gaps within the finance trade. The broader illustration we have now in funds, the higher we may be of help.” 

Along with recognizing these girls in finance, we encourage you to help women-owned companies, together with people who Downtown Boulder lists.  


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023. https://www.bls.gov/opub/stories/womens-databook/2022/dwelling.htm#:~:textual content=(Seepercent20tablepercent2012.),andpercent20hospitalitypercent20(50.9percent20percent).  
  1. “Advancing extra girls leaders in monetary providers: A worldwide report,” Deloitte, 2022. https://www2.deloitte.com/xe/en/insights/trade/financial-services/gender-diversity-in-global-financial-services.html 
  1. “Maggie Lena Walker,” Girls’s Historical past, 2017. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/maggie-lena-walker 
  1. “Memorable Quotes from Maggie Lena Walker,” Nationwide Parks Service. https://www.nps.gov/mawa/study/historyculture/memorable-quotes-from-maggie-l-walker.htm. 
  1. “Maggie Lena Walker,” Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/walker-maggie-lena-1864-1934/#:~:textual content=Maggiepercent20Lenapercent20Walkerpercent20waspercent20an,Pennypercent20Savingspercent20Bankpercent20inpercent20Richmond  
  1. Hayes, Adam, “Who Was Muriel Siebert?” Investopedia, 2023. https://www.investopedia.com/phrases/m/muriel-siebert.asp
  1. “Muriel Siebert Quotes,” Quotewise.com. 
  1. Alexander, Kerri Lee, “Muriel Siebert,” Nationwide Girls’s Historical past Museum, 2020. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/muriel-siebert.  
  1. “Abigail Adams: Keep in mind the Women,” Federal Reserve Financial institution of Atlanta, 2022. https://www.atlantafed.org/blogs/take-on-payments/2022/03/28/abigail-adams–remember-the-ladies.  
  1. Michaels, Debra, PhD, “Abigail Smith Adams,” Nationwide Girls’s Historical past Museum, 2015. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/abigail-adams. 
  1. “Ursula M. Burns: The primary African American Girl CEO of a Fortune 500 firm,” Black Enterprise Ventures Affiliation. https://www.blackventures.org/weblog/blackpercent20founders/2022/06/01/ursula-m-burns-the-first-african-american-woman-ceo-of-a-fortune-500-company/#:~:textual content=Ursulapercent20ispercent20anpercent20Americanpercent20Business,ofpercent20apercent20Fortunepercent20500percent20company. 
  1. “Ursula Burns,” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/profile/ursula-burns/?sh=c6bcb6a40a0e. 
  1. “Ursula Burns,” Columbia College within the Metropolis of New York. https://blackhistory.information.columbia.edu/mipeople/ursula-burns 
  1. Nolen, Jeanette, “Ursula Burns,” Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ursula-Burns.  
  1. Ignatius, Adi, “’I’m Right here As a result of I’m As Good As You,’” Harvard Enterprise Overview, 2021. https://hbr.org/2021/07/im-here-because-im-as-good-as-you.  

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