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More women in finance, a more sustainable economy

If one-third of corporate board members had been women, Wall street might have avoided a meltdown.

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The amount of taxpayer dollars that has gone into cleaning up our top financial institutions' collective mess is staggering. Bank of America received $15 billion as part of the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo each received $25 billion. But here's a cost-effective solution: Hire more women.

As has been pointed out with increasing frequency, a certain groupthink has been widely blamed for the economic crisis we find ourselves in today.

Barnard College president Deborah Spar dubbed our predicament a "one gender crash," and The New York Times's Nicholas Kristof wonders if we might all have been better off had it been "Lehman Brothers and Sisters."

Studies indicate that women are more comprehensive thinkers and less attracted to excessive risk than are their male peers. It seems we have reached a fairly broad consensus on the meltdown: Guys were the ones flying too close to the sun.

Now that we've landed back on earth with a mighty thud – a little humbler and a whole lot poorer – it's time to deal with the most important question of the day: How do we get more women into the good-old-boys network at the highest levels of the financial sector?


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