A commitment to gender equality first brought about this book’s
journey. My interest in understanding the transformations in women’s
experiences in male-dominated professions began when I was a child
in the seventies, listening to my grandmother tell me stories about her
own experiences as one of the only women at the University of Penn-
sylvania Law School in the twenties. I also remember hearing my
mother, as I grew up, speaking about women’s rights, as well as visiting
my father and grandfather at their law office in midtown Manhattan:
there, while still in elementary school, I spoke to the sole female lawyer
in the firm about her career. My interests in women and gender studies
only grew during my time as an undergraduate at Barnard College. Ul-
timately, when I entered graduate school, all of these experiences led
me to decide to study the pioneering first generation of women on
Wall Street for my dissertation research at Columbia University.
Powerful, elite women in finance during the nineties was not a
conventional research topic to undertake within the discipline of an-
thropology. In graduate school I was fortunate to find the academic
support of a number of pioneering female academics in their own
right. The initial research for this book took shape under the guidance
of Katherine Newman, who recognized an anthropological project in
the study of women’s professional mobility on Wall Street. Elaine
Combs-Schilling, Jean Howard, Martha Howell, and Rosalind Morris
guided me in thinking about gender and power; Saskia Sassen focused
my attention on finance and global cities. In addition, Harrison White
taught me a great deal about elite networks and the corporate arena.
Their initial interest as well as enormous support from Wendy Mac-
kenzie and Salvatore Pitruzzello provided the foundation of my re-
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