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Study finds that female investment pros face discrimination

Even in the performance-driven area of finance, it seems that women are judged unfairly compared to their male colleagues. According to new research, even having a female name can prompt discrimination.

A recent study has shown evidence of gender bias against female investment professionals. The research found that financial professionals are more likely to pay attention to investment recommendations when the person offering the recommendation is male.

The study collected data from an online platform where investment professionals can share their recommendations to buy or sell a stock. Users on the platform could then click on stock recommendations that they wanted to read more about, and could then rate the advice by using a five-point scale and leaving comments.

The platform does not explicitly identify the genders of the investment professionals who are using it, but it does list the first names of the recommenders. Therefore, users could infer whether a recommender was male or female based on his or her first name.

The researchers compared 3,520 recommendations made by 1,550 investment professionals on the platform over the course of five years. Their research shows that the investment advice given by professionals with female names was paid less attention than that given by professionals with male names.

They found that investment tips given by recommenders who had typically female names such as Mary received 25 percent fewer clicks than those given by investment pros who had male names such as Matthew. The investment recommendations given by investment pros with female names had to be high-performing in order to receive the same number of clicks as a tip from an investment professional with a male name. Additionally, male recommenders who had female-sounding names received fewer clicks than male recommenders with traditionally masculine names.

This study is not likely to be surprising to women who have worked in high-powered environments and faced discrimination. Women who are currently facing discrimination in the workplace are encouraged to seek a skilled attorney who has extensive experience in employment discrimination.

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