While the McCombs School of Business boasts a 47 percent female enrollment rate in its undergraduate program, only 29 percent of finance majors are women, according to fall 2017 data from the University.
The finance major has the lowest female to male ratio in the school, while the marketing major has the highest at 74 percent female, according to the data.
Finance junior Maggie Fulcher said the finance field is generally male-dominated, which explains the discrepancy between the finance major and other McCombs majors.
“When you think about who’s on Wall Street, you’re thinking about men,” Fulcher said. “It’s a men’s club.”
Fulcher said it is not something that people are sexist about, but there is a noticeable lack of female role models in the field.
“I think it just seems like more men are interested in it,” Fulcher said. “The people that are in the field are men, so more men are looking up to them. Not as many women are seeing that.”
Joe Hahn, director of the Masters of Science in Finance program, said people tend to follow the decisions of their friends.
“If your friends go into it, then you want to go into it,” Hahn said. “It’s certainly not anything that is intentional … I think every department would like to have adequate representation from everybody.”
Hahn said McCombs has tried different tactics to attract diversity, including offering scholarships, incentives and educating potential UT students on the finance field.
“If you’re not interested in it, that’s fine,” Hahn said. “There’s not much you can do about that, but you can certainly try to … highlight the opportunities that the field has and hopefully people will take to it.”
Robert Duvic, a distinguished senior lecturer at McCombs, said he has had excellent female students that work just as hard as everybody else.
“I don’t really see any difference in the women and the men in the course(s),” Duvic said. “Some say it’s a work-life balance, but I don’t buy into those stereotypes.”
While women can pursue finance without anything holding her back, Fulcher said she and her friends do quietly worry about balancing time-intensive jobs and a family life, something she believes she will want in the future.
“I wouldn’t say that men don’t worry about it, but I think it’s a bigger consideration for women,” Fulcher said. “If I see a woman who’s just killing it in the investment banking world but is also spending time with her family, that’s going to make me more likely to look at that as a possibility as a career.”