Blame it on the Beard

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I am very excited to begin exploring my topic regarding the effects of gender inequality on Wall Street! I strongly feel that the absence of women on wall-street was a contributing factor to the great recession.  The next steps in my research required me to ask the following questions:

1.)    Why are women absent on Wall Street?

  1. I found a great book in the library called “Selling Women Short: Gender and Money on Wall Street.” Although this book was written before the recession, and thus does not draw a correlation between gender inequality and the recession, it is very helpful in describing why women are less prone to achieve advanced positions in finance. It brings up the idea of “pay for performance” on Wall Street. Continue reading

Best of Enron Week

After careful deliberation EJ, Kelly, Ross, and I are pleased to announce this week’s best post….

!!!!CONGRATULATIONS BROOKE!!!! and your post The Smartest People in the Room: Is using sex appeal smart or unfair?.

We have a few other awards to give out this week:

Thorough and original research: Derek for Control and Enron.

Great writing from first person perspective: Emily for What was in the water at Enron?.

Singular Trophy for Unique Idea: Mike1290 for Heroes at Enron.

Solid Award for Great Cohesion- EJ for Surviving at the Expense of Morality.

Long Memory for Using “Lovable Fool” article: Kelly for The Rise and Demise of Competent Jerks at Enron.

Visual Design Seal to Tania for using a picture!

Linking Certificate for Connecting Multiple Concepts: Jessie for Power: A Struggle to the Top.

Next Week’s Post: For this Wednesday, take some aspect of the Enron story and find out what has happened since.  This can include what happened to people, organizations, laws, American society, business practices, business education, global business, or some other aspect.  Are there untold stories from Enron that the Smartest Guys in the Room book overlooked?

Please use pictures, videos, quotations, links, etc. to spice up the blog! If you need help, look here.

Thank you!

The Smartest People in the Room: Is using sex appeal smart or unfair?

“Mark unapologetically viewed being a woman – a smart, charismatic woman – as a way to ‘get privileges that other people don’t get, and…audiences that others could never hope to achieve’…Her gender was not an obstacle to be overcome but an advantage” (The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, 72).

Rebecca Mark’s admittance of her willingness to flaunt her femininity intrigued me.  There are many factors that can give an individual power.  Most of these – money, knowledge, skills – are accepted and understood, but one – sex appeal – is more controversial.  Should individuals use their looks to gain influence and control?

What makes using your sex appeal to control others any different from using your money?  Would you feel comfortable gaining power as a result of your appearance?  After all, why do career centers offer seminars on how to dress for interviews?  Yes, respect and professionalism are important, but I contend that it goes beyond that.  The seminars teach individuals to conform to the looks desired of organizations in a particular industry

It seems to me that Rebecca Mark was able to use her gender to her advantage to the large extent that she did because she worked in a male-dominated business.  She unabashedly took advantage of this, working her way up the ranks by “play[ing] up her physical attributes,” wearing “high heels and short skirts,” and sleeping with her boss.  My initial thought was that she didn’t deserve what she got and was unfairly rewarded.  However, further thought made me recognize that perhaps she was just smart.  Maybe the book title should be The Smartest People in the Room.  Why leave Rebecca Mark out?  She understood just as well as the guys how to play the system and take advantage of what she had.

Like Skilling, Lay, and many others, Mark was certainly smart.  The men were unethical, however, and their actions are generally looked down upon.  By gaining power through her femininity, did Rebecca Mark put herself in this category?  I think so…but I don’t blame her.  Society has created a world in which such things are rewarded.  Mark had the intelligence and the charisma, but unfortunately they may not have gotten her anywhere.  Those are the characteristics that should have propelled Mark to the top, but in reality it was only her sex appeal that could do so.

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