May 8 2013
Paul Tudor Jones, meet Larry Summers.
Like the former Harvard president, Jones, the legendary financier, is in hot water for some remarks he made that did not sit well with feminists.
Jones was speaking at a University of Virginia symposium on investment strategies and philosophies. He was on a panel with three other investors, whom the Washington Post kindly characterized as “men, white and aging.” The four were asked why no female investors were included on the panel that day. The Washington Post reports:
Paul Tudor Jones II, a 1976 U-Va. graduate and billionaire Greenwich-based hedge fund manager, took a stab at answering. According to those who attended, Jones explained how traders must have extraordinary focus and commitment, working long hours and forgoing personal time. A lot of women opt out of such a high-intensity career, he said, especially once they have children.
The reaction was immediate:
Carl P. Zeithaml, dean of the U-Va. McIntire School of Commerce, said that he immediately received complaints from alumni and faculty members who were concerned and, in some cases, appalled by the substance and framing of Jones’s comments. It seemed to be the opposite of the message that Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is pushing as she visits college campuses and urges young women not to limit themselves.
It is true that Sandberg advises women to do just the opposite of what Jones described. But, unlike Sandberg, Jones had no “message:” he was merely stating a fact as he saw it. I wasn’t there so maybe Jones said something stronger. But I doubt it: it really doesn't take much to get the PC Patrol in a snit.
While Jones may have stirred up a furor, there is actually ample evidence that more and more educated women are taking time out of the workforce to bring up children.
Vanderbilt University’s Joni Hersch’s study Opting Out among Women with Elite Education documents the trend.
If Jones had said that women should stay home and bring up children, regardless of what they would prefer, I can see how people might be angry. But he didn’t say that.
Jones, by the way, funds charter schools and is on the board of StudentsFirstNY, which is an offshoot of an outfit started by Michelle A. Rhee, the former D.C. schools chancellor.