Join our investing community

Women in the industry...

Discussion in 'Financial Planning' started by Alexandria, 6th Nov, 2008.

  1. Alexandria

    Alexandria Member

    Joined:
    4th Nov, 2008
    Posts:
    11
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Just wanted to start up a discussion on this, for all the women in advisory roles or BDM roles (which are usually the most male dominated ones)...

    This is not a male vs female debate, just something for the ladies, I'm wondering if you go through the same things I do (at times).

    Do you find it hard? Do you find some areas easier & use the fact you're female to an advantage?

    Example, I was asked to be on the product committee of a certain insurer, and at the time I was 23 so, quite young for an adviser. The other 20 members of the committee were all male, and aged 40 - 55. At the end, several of them came up to me asking "Alex, you know if you ever need help on any business insurance or where advice gets more technical just give me a call and I'm happy to help out or help you with any questions you might have"...I felt it to be quite patronizing.

    Should I have taken that as;

    a) a nice gesture; that they would have kindly offered anyone else?; or
    b) the assumption that because I'm young, or female (or both), that I obviously am in need of their older/wiser/male opinions?

    I mean, I am a person, I have a brain, just like you...and the only thing you have that I don't is, well, a pen*s...and if the future of the industry depended on that then we'd all be in trouble!

    I find that I'm underestimated at times (by men in the industry, the women have more of a "go girl" attitude). Of course, not by all men in the industry, and not once they've gotten to know me - I'm talking on a first impressions basis here, and just wanted to know if there are any other women who hear what I'm sayin!?

    ~ Alex:confused:
     
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Apr, 2008
    Posts:
    1,327
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    I'm not a woman, nor am in the industry, nor do I wish to derail this thread, but from my life experience to date (I'm 23) if people wanna treat you dumb, let them. Inevitably they work out you're not, and while they are working it out I normally just enjoy the fact they have low expectations of you that you need to fulfil, and in your case it sounds like they may even help you when you do need a helping hand. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me if you can get past the "feeling patronised" part.

    Plus at the end of the day you don't really know what their really "meaning" when they say what they say....

    Maybe it's just that they are a bunch of middle aged men that aren't getting any younger and are more than happy to "share their wisdom" to be in the company of or in conversation with a young, intelligent, easy on the eye woman, like yourself...

    Maybe it's that they think your the new mover and shaker and they would enjoy taking on a mentoring role in their older age...

    Maybe it's that you remind them of their daughters and you bring out their fathering instincts...

    Maybe they just made the comments fully hoping you'd never act on it because they don't want to waste their time training you up...

    Maybe they are just plain sexist and feel women are inferior and as such expect you will need a lot of help...

    ...whatever the reason, it sounds like (from the few posts you have made on these forums) that you're pretty switched on, and I'm going to assume you work pretty hard, and if this is the case then I don't really understand why you'd let this sort of thing worry you...?

    There would be a lot of people in the world that would argue I had a lot to learn, but if there is one thing I have learned it is that guessing or interpreting people's "meanings" is not worth the dramas.
     
  3. Smartypants

    Smartypants Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Jun, 2006
    Posts:
    226
    Location:
    NSW
    Also not female, nor in the industry.

    My comment comes from a client point of view.

    I wouldn't feel uncomfortable in dealing with a female financial advisor or advisor in general, young or old. If I felt that she knew her stuff, that's all that would count in my book.
     
  4. Waimate01

    Waimate01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26th May, 2008
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Sydney
    Well, no, that's not the only thing they have that you don't.

    Assuming you became interested in business at age 17, and assuming the older males did the same thing and have an average age of 47, then you have 6 years experience and each of them has 30 years experience - five times as much.

    You've lived through one small segment of an economic cycle, and they've lived through maybe a couple of full cycles.

    I would have thought that should come to mind first before the presence/absence of a male protuberance. It's certainly more relevant.

    Ageism is a real thing. As is sexism. But ageism does at least have some valid basis because experience can be very useful.

    Experience can also be a real impediment. My observation is that young people rely more on thinking; old people rely more on experience. In all likelihood there's a sweet spot somewhere in the middle.

    Anyway, I guess the upshot of what I'm saying is: maybe it was sexism; maybe it was ageism. If sexism, be outraged. If ageism, don't be outraged -- file it away for the future so you won't behave that way when the tables are turned.

    * I am also not a woman.
     
  5. Alexandria

    Alexandria Member

    Joined:
    4th Nov, 2008
    Posts:
    11
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW

    Some very good points raised, and just to clarify, I'm not letting it "worry" me...I'm more asking for other womens opinions on this whether they sometimes feel the same, or feel like they have to work harder to earn peoples respect...just out of interest. I don't know if a topic like this has been raised on these forums before.

    Thanks for your feedback, I think a lot of the things you mentioned (maybe they think of me as the daughter type) are very valid...and yes, who knows what the reason might be!

    A lot of the time I 'let' them share their wisdom, and who cares, give them the ego boost they want :) haha

    Thanks,

    Alex
     
  6. Alexandria

    Alexandria Member

    Joined:
    4th Nov, 2008
    Posts:
    11
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Yes, that's why I also stated that it could be an age thing (not necessarily a sexist thing)...or both. Good points you made though, I'll take that on board and "file it away", as you suggest :)

    I was in the industry before FSR, so I have adapted to the same changes that they (the older generation) had to adapt to.

    I agree that they have many years experience than me, and I believe the future of this industry relies on older advisers becoming mentors and passing down the knowledge to younger generations. We all bring different things to the table.

    Thanks for your view & comments :)
     
  7. Alexandria

    Alexandria Member

    Joined:
    4th Nov, 2008
    Posts:
    11
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Yeah, that's the general vibe I get from my clients too...I've had the odd occasion where this wasn't the case but, their loss...:)