On the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, men in expensive suits are staring hard at computer screens. Men call out the numbers. Men run frantically from one stock trading booth to the next, headsets in ear. Even the cleaner here is a man.
Almost inconspicuous amid the commotion, Lauren Simmons sits at the trading stand of the investment house Rosenblatt Securities. At just under 1.60 meters tall, dressed in a short skirt and high heels, she’s the only female trader on the floor.
“I think my story is so unique, because I’m not only the youngest on the floor, but also a woman and a minority,” says the 23-year-old.
Lauren moved from a small town in the state of Georgia to the Big Apple. “I came to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) through a colleague,” she says. Despite her studies focusing on genetics, she has always been fascinated by numbers. “Numbers are a universal language that everyone is connected to.”
‘As loud as the men’
Lauren’s family and friends were initially worried when told them she planned to become a stock exchange trader.
“My mother’s only fear was ‘How many women are working there?’” she says. Other than four part-time dealers who are female, Lauren is the only woman working full-time on the floor. In the entire history of the stock market, there was only one black woman with a NYSE badge before her.