the first lady of Wall Street was a force to reckon with. when the doors at the NYSE refused to open, she kicked them hard until they did.
it’s the 1960s. Wall Street is a boy’s club and women can only be a part of this club as secretaries and support staff.
then in 1967, something changed. along came Muriel Siebert from Cleveland, Ohio, the first woman to buy a seat and become a member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
it wasn’t easy to secure this position.
in 1954, Siebert left Cleveland with $500 and a used Studebaker to work at Bache & Company as a trainee in research. but then, over the next couple of years, she switched between firms.
“Wall Street, when I joined it, was almost exclusively white males,” Siebert said while giving a speech at Case Western Reserve University in 1998.
she recalled that back then, women were paid much less than men for the same amount of work. “I changed jobs twice because I was being paid $13,000 a year and the men doing the same work were being paid $20,000,” she said.
even getting a seat at the NYSE wasn’t easy for her. she asked ten men to sponsor her seat at the exchange and was denied by nine. after securing a seat at the NYSE, with the help of a loan from Chase Manhattan Bank, she remained the only woman among 1,365 men for the next decade.
“when a door is hard to open, and if nothing else works, sometimes you just have to rear back and kick it open,” Siebert said in the aforementioned speech.
in 1975, Siebert & Co. became America’s first discount brokerage, and two years after that she became the first female superintendent of Banks for New York State, overseeing all the New York banks.
in 2013, Seibert died fighting cancer at the age of 84.
the NYSE dedicated a Hall in memory of Muriel F. “Mickie” Siebert. “the dedication of Siebert Hall is the first time a room at the NYSE, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, has been named after an individual,” the exchange said in a release.