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December 28: Muriel Siebert

Lawrence Bush
December 28, 2009

Muriel-Siebert-DL-archivalOn this date in 1967, Muriel Siebert, age 35, became the first woman member of the New York Stock Exchange (alongside 1,365 men), after campaigning for months to overcome sexist obstructions. In 1975, Siebert & Company became the nation’s first discount brokerage house, democratizing Wall Street investing by greatly lowering the fees involved. Today, more than half of U.S. households participate in stock ownership (primarily through mutual funds and employee benefit funds), and about twenty percent own individual equities. She has no college degree, apart from eighteen honorary doctorates. An activist on behalf of women in business and politics, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994. Muriel Siebert died at 84 in New York City on August 24, 2013, of complications from cancer.
Don’t ask me to paint. Don’t ask me to sing. But I know a balance sheet. I can understand cash flow and depreciation. . . . I’ll stay until it’s not fun.”—Muriel Siebert

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.