Monday, August 26, 2013

Women's Equality Day: Remembering Muriel "Mickie" Siebert

Yesterday was Women's Equality Day and what better way to commemorate this moment than with a post on Muriel "Mickie" Steibert. 

Born in Cleveland, OH, in 1928, Ms. Siebert had one dream, to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Equipped with a passion and some determination, she finally was guaranteed a seat at the Exchange at a time when Wall Street was ruled by men. But it was no easy task. She first had to tackle harsh criticism from male traders, then convince the NYSE to accept her application. But even after she was granted permission, the rules had to change before she was finally allowed a seat. She had to secure her position among the ranks of the market's top traders with a $330,000 loan (that's over $2 million in today's dollars).

Some accounts have her as educated and experienced, others claim she arrived on Wall Street with neither. What is known for sure is that she fell in love with the NYSE after a family trip to the trading floor. And she was determined to become a part of the street, even with all the odds against her. 

She is quoted as once stating that all she ever wanted was to get paid as equally as her male colleagues. She was to later start her own brokerage firm and attempt a place in politics. While she succeeded in the first, unfortunately she was to lose the latter. But it did not stop her. She became an advocate for women and financial literacy, and was to finally grow her brokerage company into a reputable business. 

Mickie lost her battle to cancer over the weekend. She was 80 years old. Before she died, Mickie had apparently strived through many decades of gender inequality. She rose to the top of the financial sector at a time when women were still, and still are, underrepresented. Although she was initially unwelcomed at Wall Street, she is now being praised as a colleague and pioneer - and an inspiration to all women. 

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