On Wall St., Gender Bias Runs Deep

New York Times:

“Those are characteristics that you think about when asked to talk about what the Wall Street culture is,” she said in an interview. “That’s a very masculine, macho culture, again a stereotype, and, in general, it’s very hard for women or men to picture women being that way because that conflicts with the stereotypic norms of what women should be like.”

Ms. Lang, a trailblazer in the high-tech and Internet industries who has headed Catalyst for nine years and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard, continued, “Women who behave in those macho ways are then perceived as being very masculine, and that’s considered very unattractive. While men are aggressive, women are labeled with the ‘B word.’ It is behavior that’s admired in men but despised in women.”

She called it a double bind. This fits an overall pattern, she said, that is specific not to Wall Street but exists wherever traditionally macho behavior is what it takes to be successful. Stereotypic bias runs through everything, she said, like lack of access to networks, lack of role models and gender definition.

Stereotypic bias is among the toughest barriers women face. It defines “what women should do, what they can do, what they’re good at,” she said. “Men are natural leaders and women are not; men are strong and women are weak; and men are in charge and women are caretakers. These are gender stereotypes. It’s what social culture is all about.”

Gender bias runs deep. “This is what researchers call implicit bias,” Ms. Lang said. Studies by Catalyst and others over recent decades show that “if you compare a man and a woman, when everything else is the same — their wealth, their education, their I.Q., their physical attractiveness and capability — you will always find that the man has more advantages than the woman.”

Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal

Jackie Calmes and Peter Baker at the New York Times:

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Mr. Obama said.

Long a proponent of civil unions, Mr. Obama said his views had changed in part because of prodding by friends who are gay and by conversations with his wife and daughters.

“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Mr. Obama said. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.”

Mr. Obama also invoked his Christian faith in explaining his decision.

“The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule — you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated,” he said. “And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”

Reaction to Mr. Obama’s announcement was largely predictable — including immediate opposition from his presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney — yet people on both sides of the issue pointed to the historical significance of a president endorsing marriage between people of the same sex. It was a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which the Obama administration last year decided not to enforce in the courts.