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Finance is a feminist issue


Two former American International Group Inc female vice presidents have sued the insurer and its derivatives unit, saying they were fired after complaining about a "boys club" atmosphere and alleging gender and age bias against older women.

The women worked for AIG Financial Products, the unit where enormous, failed bets were made on credit default swaps, resulting in about $180 billion of federal bailouts that left taxpayers owning nearly 80 percent of New York-based AIG.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in the New Haven, Connecticut federal court, Susan Potter and Deonna Taylor alleged that AIG misled them about the existence of a salary cap, and paid male employees and younger employees more for comparable work.

The women also said the defendants "fostered a 'boys club' atmosphere," and that 96 of AIG's 108 vice presidents worldwide were men. They further alleged that Joseph Cassano, who once led AIG Financial Products, preferred to attract younger workers to give AIG "curb appeal," and once remarked that he did not want any employees who looked like his aunt.

"Curb appeal..." One question:

How would Cassano know about that?

NOTE Via Cannonfire.

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jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

My take from this is that, really, finance is a vile and unholy enterprise, Satan's own work, and its being virulently anti-feminist is merely one facet of that.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

in a money economy: someone has to make money available to start up businesses, invest in your education, etc., and we can't always accumulate it ahead of time (and i we had to, it would be a very tough economy to live in).

But Lambert's got a point (that I'm slowly writing out my take on) that Finance as we see it now is as ugly and monstrous as it is, in part, because it is such a "boy's club". Due somewhat to its nature, finance as a career choice attracts a certain kind of risk-taker and swaggerer more common, as it happens, among men in our culture* than among women: and as it becomes more a world inhabited by such types, they tend to drive out other types. And any field dominated by insane risk-takers and swaggerers quickly becomes a distorted thing not acting in the best interests of the society it dwells in.

But, but, but... "curb cred appeal"?! WTF is that? Is that a thing, and I am out of it? It makes me think vaguely of dogs and fire hydrants.

(Edited later: I was posting in a hurry this morning when I replied and not looking at the original post. Just goes to show that I'm unfamiliar with the term!)

More added in edit: remember that microlending, too, is finance. That is part of finance's good side.

*maybe in all cultures: I really couldn't say.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I guess we don't talk about speculating as a bad thing any more, but there used to be a distinction between making money available for starting up businesses, investing in your education (although working your way through school was preferable and possible in those times), etc., and getting control of something of nominal value (commodity, asset, another piece of paper) to try to flip it at a profit. One was investment and necessary to an economy. The other was a distorted, destructive mirror image of investment called speculation, and was the province of scoundrels. Now it's called the genius of savvy businessmen.

And then there used to be a distinction between banking and loan-sharking, as between interest and usury. But our savvy businessmen took care of that.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Oh, so appropriate! From Wikipedia:

Curb appeal is attractiveness of the exterior of a residential or commercial property. The term was extensively used in the United States during the housing boom and continues to be used as an indicator of the initial appeal of a property to prospective buyers.

In other words, the makeup you put on a lemon. Not so far away from my imaginings of dogs and fire hydrants, after all.

I bet his aunt is one tough cookie, and he can't deal with it. Curb this!