Women 'never the right age' in hedge fund

Jun 27, 2012

Women working in hedge funds struggle to be taken seriously at work, according to a new study from two leading management experts.

The report from the universities of Leicester and Essex looked into the concept of "adulting" which is defined as the attempt by people to be seen as mature and responsible, professionally and socially.

The , who looked at men and women at a London hedge fund, found that women faced problems at every stage of – from getting started in the company to keeping credibility among colleagues after giving birth.

By contrast, young male staff were given more opportunities to settle into corporate life, and suffered fewer dilemmas in juggling work and parenthood, found Jo Brewis, Professor of Organisation and Consumption at the University of Leicester School of Management, and Dr Kat Riach, Senior Lecturer in Management at Essex Business School at the University of Essex.

"Our in-depth research into life for male and female workers at a busy showed women are never the right age in organisational terms," said Professor Brewis, who has borrowed the phrase 'never the right age' from fellow management experts Professor Wendy Loretto and Dr Colin Duncan from the University of Edinburgh Business School, who originally coined it.

Professor Brewis and Dr Riach gathered evidence in late 2010 through 53 interviews with men and women at the fund aged between 25 and 37, and 150 hours of observation.

They found that women's problems began when they entered the company. Unlike their male colleagues they were given little or no informal guidance and training as new members of a team.

When one young female employee found that she had done something incorrectly weeks before, she said: "I thought 'Why didn't they just tell me that? Were they scared I was going to burst into tears or something?' That really bothered me!"

Once they had children, thought it necessary to hide their day-to-day parental duties as much as possible, to prevent damage to their careers. One female worker said: "I think the pressure is trying to prove (yourself), trying to act as though you haven't had a baby and still do everything exactly the same, like you've got a puppy at home."

New fathers found themselves in a much easier position, according to the research. Talking about a male colleague, one female employee described how she'd asked him how his life had changed after becoming a father. He replied: "No, I haven't noticed any difference at all." The woman added: "I was like, 'I bet your wife has!'"

These differences in the treatment of existed despite proclamations of gender-blindness by the fund's staff. One male trader said: "Money doesn't know you're a woman. If you make a profit or you make a loss, the bottom line is all that matters, [that's] all that anyone takes any notice of."

The paper will be presented at the 7th Gender, Work and Organisation Conference at the University of Keele, on Thursday 28 June.

Explore further: 3 Qs: Economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gay class tourism

Jun 21, 2011

New research at the University of Leicester is investigating a growing fascination with 'chav' culture among middle-class gay men in Britain.

More female managers do not reduce wage gap

Dec 16, 2011

Are wage differences between men and women decreasing as more women attain managerial positions? A new Swedish report from the Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS) at Uppsala University and the Institute for Labour Market ...

Recommended for you

Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

Apr 17, 2014

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices ...

Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly, study finds

Apr 16, 2014

As companies file their annual proxy statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have ...

Investment helps keep transport up to speed

Apr 16, 2014

Greater investment in education and training for employees will be required to meet the future needs of the transport and logistics industry, according to recent reports by Monash University researchers.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Telekinetic
5 / 5 (1) Jun 27, 2012
Hedgefunders are a repugnant bunch. They started moving into my apartment building about ten years ago and ruined what was once a friendly atmosphere. They are arrogant, superior, and scowling. It doesn't surprise me in the least that they're misogynistic, because they look down their noses at everyone. I wish they would explode while at the office.

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...