Black women are making power moves in the finance industry. According to MarketWatch, Sharon Bowen has been appointed to serve as the New York Stock Exchange board chair.
The appointment is historic as it marks the first time a Black woman has served in the role. Bowen has broken barriers and changed the narrative surrounding representation in the finance space throughout her entire career. She made history as the first African American to serve as the Commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Before joining the CFTC, she was selected by former President Barack Obama to serve as vice-chair and acting chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Bowen, who holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Northwestern University, has focused on transactional and corporate law throughout her career. She’s also been a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion, serving on the boards of organizations centered on civic engagement.
Bowen’s appointment comes as there has been a stagnancy surrounding racial and gender diversity in stock trading. Research shows Black women account for just over 10 percent of the finance industry. In 2017, at the age of 22, Lauren Simmons became the second African American woman trader in NYSE history.
“I think we have had enough time to make enough plans on what diversity looks like and what the importance of it is,” she shared in a statement, according to CNBC. “Working at the trading floor where all of my clients were white men, I really felt like I had a social responsibility to go on and really make sure that more people were included at the table and more people were part of the conversation. A lot of what I do today is not just about personal finance, but it is also about getting more people into the financial industry as a whole if they so choose.”