Breaking Down the Walls of Wall Street

Norma Yaeger, Equal Pay, Breaking Down the Walls, Stock Exchange

“Women have to put their foot forward and say I’m entitled. If I’m doing an equal job, I should have equal pay. For all the young women now who have never had to deal with these problems…I walked the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for you.” When Norma Yaeger acquired her New York Stock Exchange license in 1962, she didn’t know of any other women in the industry. The Stock Exchange didn’t even allow women to step foot on its floor. But having just escaped poverty in NY’s Catskill Mountains, and determined to support her children, Norma wasn’t going to let the exclusionary traditions of the financial industry stop her from becoming a stockbroker.


51fQMWzClIL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_Equal Pay and Other Insights

  • During the last century, Norma Yaeger broke down walls for today’s women. She earned a job in a male-dominated industry and demanded equal pay.
  • She didn’t start her book Breaking Down the Walls for her audience, but for her family. She wanted her children to know what she had been through.
  • Everyone has a story to tell. Make notes along the way, whether you intend to write a book or not. Because you don’t know what you intend to do years from now.
  • She admits to failures, but she learned from them.  Resilience comes from picking yourself back up and doing things differently the next time.

Unless you know where we’ve come from, you have no idea what the future can hold for you. Many things will change during our lifetimes. Norma paved the way in many areas:

  • If Norma didn’t find work, her family would have nothing
  • In her day, women couldn’t hold a credit card
  • She wrote “At that moment, I knew I am a woman who will punch through glass if I need to.”
  • She had to get a loan to get new work clothes, and the banker said she had to get her husband’s approval. She refused, but got the loan anyway.
  • When Norma got the job as a stock broker, her boss said there was one problem, “We don’t know what to pay a woman, we’ve never had one.”
  • She got equal pay because she explained, “I have more expenses than the men….I have to hire a wife! Why shouldn’t I get equal pay?”
  • Her book teaches women how to negotiate.

Listen to the full episode as Norma tells her fascinating story.

Norma Yaeger, NY Stock Exchange

Take Home Message:

  • The first five people to email stacy{at} with their mailing address will receive a copy of Norma’s books.
  • Start writing notes about your life today. You never know when you will need those notes.
  • Find obstacles and overcome them. Negotiate and step forward and say “I’m entitled.”


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About: Norma Yaeger

Norma Now (1) Norma is the author of Breaking Down the Walls. It is her story of how she broke down the prejudices against women during the last century. In 1962, she was the first woman stockbroker permitted to walk the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.  She received her license, walked the floor of the exchange and fought for and got equal pay for equal work. During her long career, she founded a mutual fund and opened two stock brokerage companies. She made fortunes and folded companies all while raising five children; persevering to achieve the work home balance.  She rose through the ranks of a male-dominated industry, opening the door for young women who would follow behind her. Her book Breaking Down The Walls is the version of the American Dream that is rarely told. It is an inspiration to young men and women today to realize just how far we have come and be reminded how far we have yet to go.




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