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Communications and Marketing

Women taking charge

Female economics, finance, and business students seeking support in their male-dominant fields shared more than a pizza lunch during an informal meeting of the women in business support group.

The diverse mix of students—many with double majors—sought advice on how to navigate a business major and a future career in a field that remains distinctly light on women.

Michelle Applebaum, finance lecturer, said two years ago she was lucky to have four women in a class of 16 students.

“Generally, I’ve had one woman in the room,” Applebaum said.

“It may be hard to be in a classroom that’s predominantly male,” Department of Economics and Business Associate Professor Amanda Felkey said.

And that feeling extends to the work world, too, she said.

“As you move on from here in economics, finance, and business, you’re going to find that it’s not any better. You’ll be in an even greater minority,” Felkey told the group.

The few women who do make it professionally in the world of finance, investment or economics typically receive lower lifetime pay than their male counterparts.

“A large percentage of the discrepancy between men and women in lifetime earnings can be explained by the fact that women don’t push back in an initial negotiation,” Felkey said.

Chair of Economics and Business Carolyn Tuttle, Felkey, and Applebaum believe a women’s networking group will help Lake Forest’s female economics and finance students succeed.

In February, a networking event with successful professional women is planned, with an alumni panel of successful women in business scheduled in April.

Informal lunchtime discussions and seminars interspersed with those events will provide female students with the tools to succeed to the next step, Felkey said.