Packer’s Boy’s Club
Each Day 5, a shared interest in banking, stocks, and the newest economic trends brings a group of students to room F406. Among them is anywhere from ten to twenty boys, their three male leaders, and on occasion, a single girl. This club and its lack of female members has begun to prompt the discussion of an important question: When a club lacks a level of diversity that should be considered imperative, how does it get rectified, and who gets held accountable?
Finance Federation, a club which originated in the September of 2013, while beloved by its members, has developed a negative reputation among students, which the club heavily refutes. “I know some people think Finance Fed has this bro culture, this type of fraternity vibe, which honestly is kind of absurd,” said Will Panczner (‘18), who leads the club alongside Max Marshall (‘18) and Julien Strickland (‘18).
While to those in the club these titles represent nothing other than falsehoods and rumors, to many female members of the student body it has become a reality, an idea so prevalent amongst Packer girls it has become, to some, a deterrent.
“I’m extremely interested in the business world, and I would have joined Finance Fed but I think I wouldn’t be wanted. It’s an intimidating environment,” said an anonymous sophomore girl.
An openness to more female students seems to be a shared sentiment amongst both the club’s leaders and members, but the issue seems to lie more in the lack of initiative taken than the desire itself. Beyond being discussed in club meetings and between leaders, the only steps made have been the encouragement to join from male members in casual settings towards their female peers.
Though certainly a good place to start, many believe that members could be doing much more in attempt to solve the problem. It is a common opinion among the club, that having no female members, while unfortunate, is no one’s fault, and most bear no culpability for the club’s lack of gender diversity.
“I don’t think it’s anyone’s responsibility [to gain female members] at all because it’s been made clear that the club is open to anyone and everyone. I don’t think there’s any issue with it being an all male club, because it’s not a club that is literally for males,” said a student who chose to remain anonymous.
Will also seemed to feel that that the club’s gender issue is the fault of no one in particular. “Unfortunately the lack of diversity that we see in the club is reflected in the real world, so I don’t necessarily think that the issue of lack of diversity is any of the leader’s or anyone in the club’s fault,” he said. “I really think it’s a reflection of problems in the real world today. When you look at economic and financial jobs, the majority of those are taken by men.”
Though there is an abundant gender disparity in the financial field, it is still not an accurate reflection. According to Business Insider, in 2015, the percentage of executive jobs at major American banks held by women ranged from 19% to 30%, which far exceeds the female presence in the Packer club, and points to the idea that the absence of girls stems from more than a lack of interest.
However, there is still a glaring gender disparity in the larger financial world. This disparity should be used not as a way to normalize the faults within Packer, but as even more of an incentive to fix them.
Jordyn Pierre-Raphael (‘20), the club’s sole female member, attributes the imbalance less to the unwillingness of the members, but more to the atmosphere itself. “I wouldn’t say that they were rude in any given way towards me just because I was the only girl there, but just the fact that I was the only girl in a club filled with guys [made me] a little uncomfortable,” she said.
However, the friendly demeanor of those in the club during meetings does not excuse the lack of action outside club walls.
“In the club I know they do presentations about things that are going on in finance today; they could talk about how there are some influential women in finance. They could even make a chapel announcement or a chapel presentation,” added Jordyn on the steps she feels the club should be taking. “Just something. I feel like there are ways to be persistent about it.”