March is Women’s History Month. As such, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the historic women who paved the way for all of the women working in the financial services industry by acknowledging the triumphs and obstacles they faced and sharing their stories.
While there are many more notable women to know, here are five pioneers of the financial services industry to celebrate this women’s history month.
- Victoria Woodhull – Probably most known as being the first woman to run for U.S. president in 1872, Woodhull did many other firsts before putting her name on the ballot alongside running mate Frederick Douglass. In 1868, Woodhull moved to New York where she helped Cornelius Vanderbilt pick stocks using her alleged psychic abilities. From her successes picking stocks, Woodhull founded the first female-owned brokerage firm.
- Muriel Siebert – Also known as “Mickie,” Siebert became the first woman to purchase a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1967. At the time, she was the only woman among 1,300 men. However, earning her seat was not easy. Siebert was turned down by many potential sponsors before she found one who would endorse her application. Additionally, Siebert opened the first discount brokerage in 1975 and in 1977 she became the first female superintendent of banks for New York State.
- Isabel Benham – Educated at Bryn Mawr College, Benham pushed her school to offer a degree in economics. The aspiring Wall Street analyst became just one of five to graduate from the college with a degree in economics in 1931. Benham would end up becoming a trusted railroad stock analyst and the first woman to be named a partner to a Wall Street bond house.
- Lilla St. John – In 1953, a 25-year-old mother of two from Wisconsin became the first African-American woman to pass the New York Stock Exchange Examination for financial advisors. At the time, St. John worked as a certified investment counselor for Oppenheimer and Company.
- Geraldine Weiss – Using the pen name G. Weiss, Geraldine Weiss started her own investment newsletter in 1966 after investment firms rejected her applications as an investment advisor and offered her secretarial positions instead. Weiss was one of the first women to make a name for herself in the finance world through her newsletter Investment Quality Trends, which ran for 37 years.
AdvisorNews Managing Editor Cassie Miller may be reached at cassie.miller@Adnewsfeedback.com. Cassie has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. Follow her on Twitter @ANCassieM.