Wall Street Is Crazy Sexist

Former female Merrill Lynch employees allege training included a book called “Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top”

Photo Credit: Ramy Majouji

New details have emerged from a bias lawsuit filed by three former employees of Merrill Lynch against the company, which alleges that during training they were instructed to read a book called “Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top” and emulate its advice.

The tips in the book, published by New York Magazine’s The Cut, are truly shocking. “I play on [men's] masculine pride and natural instincts to protect the weaker sex,” says a section of the book advising women on how to get men to do their work. “Unless he is morbidly obese, there is no man on earth who won’t puff up at this sentence: Wow, you look great. Been working out?” suggests a portion on diffusing tense situations.

The book also tells the story of a woman who tried to get in with the men in the office:

So she stocked her mini fridge with beer along with her designer water; she kept a big bowl of candy on her desk, she brought in games like boggle and checkers. Pretty soon the boys were hang out in her office, and when they discussed things of business interest, Maggie was right there with them.

According to the New York Post, the women “were also pressured to attend gals-only events on topics like ‘dressing for success’ and ‘preparing healthy meals while working full-time.’” The women also report being told to be more “perky” or “bubbly,” and one even says a manager told her to “stick to her knitting” when she tried to bring in a client.

These demeaning and rather tragic pieces of advice might well be a reality for many women on male-dominated Wall Street. It’s a known Boys’ Club, and Wall Streeters have a track record of using women as scapegoats, instead of treating them as equals. Women are vastly underrepresented in the finance industry — much more so than in other areas — and hold only 8.6 percent of executive officer jobs. Women also earn less than men in finance; the top six jobs with the biggest pay gaps are financial.



Annie-Rose Strasser is a Deputy Managing Editor at Think Progress.

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