Authored by:

Vaishnavi Gupta, Researcher

During 3000 BC, in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, grains were used as collateral by merchants to pay off their loans. This embarked on the concept of the banking system. Since then money management has been regarded as a man’s domain.

Gender biases has been ubiquitous and persistent, posing considerable challenges for women. In a world that has been dominated by men since the beginning, today only 46% of women are employed in the financial sector. Both inside and outside the workplace, women encounter misconceptions, uncertainty, and biases. Women are succeeding in the financial profession despite these psychological and financial barriers. They are also instructing other women on how to do it.

Oonah Keogh, an Irish lady born in Dublin in 1903, is one such example of a woman in finance. She lodged an application to become a full member of the Dublin Stock Exchange. Making history by becoming the world's first female stockbroker authorized on a national exchange anywhere in the globe.

From a young age, she had been aware of the intimidating and male-dominated financial world. Joseph Chapman Keogh, her father, was a member of the Irish Stock Exchange and had established a name for himself in the 1880s when at the age of 24, he became the youngest bank manager in Irish history.

Joseph owned Joseph Keogh and Company Stockbroking and he urged Oonah Keogh to join the family firm. Women found it difficult to start careers in those days, but this offer provided an additional difficulty because the Dublin Stock Exchange had never admitted a woman before.

After three weeks of consternation and sensation, Oonah joined the stock exchange on May 4, 1925.

At that time the new Irish constitution guaranteed equality and because of her education and wealth, she could not be denied this chance merely because she was a woman. This laid down the foundation for the ascension of female brokers. Dublin Stock Exchange or any other stock exchange in the world had never admitted a woman before. But the struggle of a woman in finance did not end there.

Because women did not participate in golf trips, cocktails at the gentleman's club, and race meetings many of the most crucial deals were handled without her.

She stayed in her position for 14 years proving society wrong. She even took over for her ailing father at one time, not letting the clients feel his absence. She left an indelible mark on history and influenced a generation of women.

In 1870 Sisters Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin were the first women to open a brokerage firm on Wall Street. Muriel Siebert, the first woman to have a seat on the NYSE in 1967. You can only imagine the sensationalism that surrounded "women" having jobs back then. However, this did not deter them.

Women are increasingly playing significant and prominent positions in the investing sector all around the world. We are all surrounded by powerful women in industries ranging from real estate to Wall Street to startup capital. It is the era of “Women in Finance.”