Bartiromo's advice to women in the workplace: I didn't let NYSE men push me around

FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday opened up about her experience as a woman in business.

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“When I first got down to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, I felt this pushback from people, men, that they didn’t want me there,” Bartiromo said. “This was when I was 25, 26 years old and all these guys are so much older than I am. And they were like, ‘Run along. This is not your business. This is not going to go on your little TV show.’”

“I said to myself ‘I'm going to own this job. I'm going to make sure that I know this better than all of these guys and they're not gonna be able to push me around.’”

- Maria Bartiromo, FOX Business

Her comments come on the heels of the release of a ‘Women in the Workplace’ study that gauges how women continue to be underrepresented in corporate America and compares the progress that’s been made.

The 2019 study, conducted by McKinsey & Co. and Leanin.org, reflected how businesswomen like Bartiromo are pushing back.

“In the last five years, we’ve seen more women rise to the top levels of companies,” the study said. “An increasing number of companies are seeing the value of having more women in leadership, and they’re proving that they can make progress on gender diversity.”

Since 2015, companies with three or more women in the C-suite have risen from 29 percent to 44 percent.

“Still, women continue to be underrepresented at every level,” the study said. “Companies need to focus on where the real problem is … In reality, the biggest obstacle that women face is much earlier in the pipeline, at the first step up to manager. Fixing this “broken rung” is the key to achieving parity.”

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Leanin.org founder and CEO Rachel Thomas and McKinsey and Co. chief diversity and inclusion officer Lareina Yee joined FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria” to further discuss their findings.

“Women disproportionately lose out,” Yee said. “For every 100 men promoted [to manager] that very first time, only 79 or 72 women are promoted. And if you're a black woman, that number is even less. And because we're losing so many women at that very first promotion, we're starting to see very few at the top.”

The “broken rung” analogy rings true in numbers. On average, men end up holding 62 percent of management positions, leaving women holding 38 percent.

“Diverse management teams lead to better profitability and higher performance.”

- Lareina Yee, McKinsey and Co. chief diversity and inclusion officer  

Yee and Thomas provided solutions for companies to fix the “broken rung,” including setting goals to hire more women in upper management, launching unconscious bias training and having clear evaluation criteria.

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“[Companies] need to create an opportunity-rich and fair workplace,” Yee said. “If employees have this experience, then they're three times more likely to want to stay, three times more likely to want to be promoted and three times happier.”