Does parenthood imperil the skills of a money trader?
Apparently it does. Only, however, if the trader is female.
That’s the take of Paul Tudor Jones, a billionaire who made his money as a hedge fund manager, in this comment while speaking to prospective hedge-funders at the University of Virginia: “Jones said in his experience having a child is a ‘killer’ for any desire to trade, adding ‘as soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,’ while motioning to his chest, according to a video posted by the Washington Post.”
There are plenty of ways to take Jones’s generalized interpretation of the effect of parenthood. Take it as gospel, if you like. View it as belittlement. Regard it as the limited perspective of a white male speaking of his decades-old observations. Factor in the possibility of early dementia, perhaps.
We can argue – and many people have – over the validity of Jones’s global perceptions.
Yet among the widespread criticism of the content of Jones’s comment, I have yet to read of anyone taking Jones to task for his choice of the word “girl”.
It’s a punch in the gut. A slimy punch.
Jones was referring to female traders he once knew, and an educated guess would put them well over the age of 18 . . . who would hand a job like that to a high-schooler? They therefore were and are women. To refer to them as “girls” both patronizes and disparages, and is a clear indicator of Jones’s intent. Apologies notwithstanding, he evidently has little respect for women no matter their skills and talents. That red-flag attitude is as much to be deplored as his assumption that becoming a parent somehow cripples young traders, but only if they’re female parents.
I’ll go further and point out that Jones’s use of the word “girl” in this context was so condescending, so belittling, as to be the equivalent of “boy” as used in reference to African-American men.
“Hey, boy!” “Those girls can’t handle our work!” See the symmetry?
Jones presumably knows better than to call dark-skinned men “boys” (especially when his audience contains several). He hasn’t yet learned to curb his tongue when speaking of females – of any race – who have achieved voting age.
As to his content, how does his opinion stack up to research? Recent studies have proven women to be better traders and money handlers, less inclined to take dire risks, more able to render profit to their clients. Perhaps they regard the money in their accounts as their “baby”, thus deserving of nurturing care?
It’s a skill and approach many males could learn and profit from.
As to Jones, let’s hope he learns to do his own risk analysis. First, though, he needs to think, about content and chosen vocabulary: “I was wrong”.