The financial industry, long known for its boys-club environment, has only a small fraction of women as top executives. And that small cadre has been thinning out in recent years, with the most recent example Krawcheck's departure as BofA's president of global wealth management. Her departure is part of a broader trend in the financial industry in recent years: Female employees are losing their jobs at a faster clip than men. ...
....The finance industry has not historically been known as a welcoming place for women. The cigar and strip-club reputation was confirmed by a lawsuit against Smith Barney in the 1990s, which accused it of turning a blind eye to raunchy, sexist behavior. The lawsuit later became the subject of a book called "Tales From the Boom-Boom Room."
The attention brought by the suit spurred wide-scale changes that helped stamp out overt discrimination and open up hiring. A decade ago, the number of women in finance was rising.
Public-relations executive Richard Edelman writes in his blog this week that he wants women to occupy half of the senior roles in his company by 2016.
"Our goal is simple—50% of those on Strategy Committee, Operating Committee, GCRM and practice leadership will be women by 2016," he writes. "They will have earned the positions; there will not be a quota."
Edelman, who is president and CEO of Edelman, the world's largest independent public-relations firm, acknowledges that his industry has no problem attracting women. Some two-thirds of his workforce is female, he writes. But the ranks of women start to thin in leadership roles.