In her weekly Q&A, New York Times columnist Deborah Solomon took Goldman Sachs' Abby Cohen to task, asking the Goldman partner about the lack of female representation at the top of the bank's org chart, the pay disparity between banking CEOs and the rest of us, the firm's now infamous Facebook investment, the 2008 financial crisis, why she was relieved of her position as chief investment strategist, and just what investment banks do for the good of society.
Cohen, who in the past has been named one of the most powerful women in the U.S., sidestepped all of the tough questions, though she did admit the bank needs to do better to retain experienced female talent.
Of the firm's meager female representation at partner level (12 percent) versus female representaion at MBA schools nationwide (30 percent), Cohen said, "I don't think that we are proud of it, and I think we do have aspirations of improving the numbers."
Cohen also noted that Goldman (and other banks) "can only deal with the pool of young women who make themselves available and express interest in investment banking." Which leads me to ask: Does the problem really rest with women not being genuiniely interested in investment banking? Or with investment banking not being genuinely interested in women?
I know if I were a chief strategist, I'd recommend going long on the latter.
(Related: Where the Women Aren't: The Banking C-Suite)