Women Who Rocked the Finance World — Muriel Faye “Mickie” Siebert
The finance world has been largely male-dominated to date. That’s no secret! But did you know that many women have also made their mark on the industry?
Yes! There have been feisty females throughout the ages who have pushed for change. And as Contentworks is a financial services marketing agency spearheaded by female CEOS with a passion for equality, we’ve been delving deeper into the lives of these game-changers.
In this article we’ll be looking at fearless financial revolutionary Muriel Faye “Mickie” Siebert.
A determined trailblazer for Women on Wall Street
Born in Cleveland Ohio in 1928 to Hungarian immigrants, Muriel Faye Siebert pursued education at the Western Reserve University, but did not manage to graduate due to her father’s ill health. A lack of degree, however, did not stop ‘Mickie’ (as she was known to her friends and family) from embarking on a career that would ultimately change the course of history for women on Wall Street.
The First Woman of Finance
Despite being proceeded in owning a brokerage by the controversial Victoria Woodhull, Siebert has become known around the globe as the ‘First Woman of Finance’ or the ‘First Lady of Wall Street.’ Vivacious, confident and unashamed to fight for her rights within a male-dominated world, it was Siebert’s unapologetic and persistent personality that contributed to her overall success. This, combined with an incredible mathematical talent, enabled her to conquer the finance sector in style.
With an eye for number patterns, logistics and equations, Siebert said: “I can look at a page of numbers and they light up and tell me a story.”
A Wall Street Dream
A visit to see her sister and a tour of the New York Stock Exchange in 1953 solidified her dream of getting a job on Wall Street. And a year later, with just $500 and a used car, Siebert made her way to Manhattan where she became an analyst on a salary, with institutions giving her orders on the side. Speaking of her experience, Siebert said: “I came with that used car and five hundred dollars. And I drove.” Unstoppable is the word, but a career in the finance world did not come easily! Indeed, payment inequality was a massive hurdle, with Siebert only receiving 60% of what the men got for doing the same role.
Undeterred, Siebert made history by applying to go solo and work for herself.
History Made at the New York Stock Exchange
Despite having her application rejected a whopping nine times, Mickie didn’t give up. In fact, the constant pressure to comply to stereotypical female roles such as becoming a typist or a secretary only spurred Siebert on further. And in 1967, she became the first woman to purchase a seat on the New York Stock Exchange thanks to two sponsors who endorsed her eventual achievement and supported her vision. At a time when money was largely “not a proper subject for ladies” Siebert joined the 1,365 members of the exchange becoming a trailblazer for women on Wall Street.
This move sparked huge headlines across America with one headline reading: “Now the Girls Want to Play.” But it was another ten years before other women joined the New York Stock Exchange — a fact which angered Siebert immensely. Commenting on the situation, she said: “For ten years I could say, thirteen hundred and sixty-five men — and me.”
Siebert, unafraid to talk to her male colleagues in the same rough-tongued manner that they communicated with one another, crafted a feisty reputation. She wasn’t one to be easily messed with and this unrelentless power and no-nonsense attitude led to further success.
Two years after buying the seat on the NYSE, she established Muriel Siebert and Company, becoming the first woman to own and operate a brokerage that was a member of the NYSE. In 1977, she was appointed by Governor Carey, to be the State Superintendent of Banking in yet another history-making move. During her tenure, not one single bank in NYC failed.
Never taking ‘no’ for an answer, Siebert was a determined ‘broad’ with an incredible work ethic. Talking about what it takes to achieve success in life, she said: “There are three four letter words that end in k. It’s luck, work and risk.”
Muriel Siebert passed away in 2013 due to complications resulting from cancer. But not before helping people succeed through her Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Plan and serving as the President of the New York Women’s Agenda which advocated Financial Literacy for Women. Mickie we are in awe of you.
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