March is Women’s History Month, a good time to reflect on the changes women have made to the financial industry. From insightful investors to trail-blazing entrepreneurs and corporate officers, women continue to make advances in breaking the glass ceiling for good.

Here are some of the most noteworthy firsts from women in finance, along with some contemporaries who are influencing the future of finance.

8 Groundbreaking Women in Finance

Here are a few U.S. women who achieved historic milestones in the field of finance:

Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin

These sisters were the first women to open a Wall Street brokerage firm. Woodhull, Clafin, and Company was founded in 1870, the same year Woodhull became the first woman to run for the office of U.S. President.

Maggie Lena Walker

Walker founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903, making her the first female bank president in U.S. history. She was also an African American entrepreneur who heavily influenced Black business standards and practices.

Isabel Benham

A renowned expert in railroad finances, Benham started working at RW Pressprich, where her railroad reports were acclaimed for their unfailing accuracy. Benham was eventually made a partner, making her the first woman named partner by a Wall Street bond firm.

Muriel “Mickie” Siebert

Often labeled “The First Woman of Finance,” Siebert was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) when she bought one in 1967. In 1969, she also started the first woman-owned brokerage firm, Muriel Siebert & Company.

Rosemary McFadden

McFadden was voted President of the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) in 1984. She became the first woman to be President of any stock exchange in the U.S.

Janet Yellen

Yellen, the current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, also served as the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014-2018. She is the first woman in history to hold both of those official posts (and the only person ever to hold both).

Adena Friedman

President of NASDAQ since 2017, Friedman is the first woman to be named CEO of a public stock exchange.

Sallie Krawcheck

Dubbed “The Last Honest Analyst” for her utter impartiality, Krawcheck was the first woman to lead a major Wall Street firm (Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.). She leads the industry as co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, a digital investment service designed for women.

7 Influential Female Business Leaders in 2024

Today, some of the most powerful and esteemed female finance leaders include:

  • Anne Ackerley: Managing Director at BlackRock, the leading asset management company in the world.
  • Anu Aiyengar: Co-Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Candace Browning-Platt: Bank of America’s Head of Global Research.
  • Carla Harris: Award-winning author focusing on business leadership.
  • Janel Jackson: thought leader in charge of ETF capital markets at Vanguard.
  • Saira Malik: Head of global equities at Nuveen, oversees $383 billion of the firm’s assets under management.
  • Mary Meeker: Creator of the annual Internet Trends Report and founder of Bond Capital.

And these are just a few of the women making a substantial impact on finances.

Still Blazing Trails

Today’s women in finance are the personification of business evolution. It’s important to celebrate them as the gender gap in financial success continues to grow smaller.

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