50 Courageous and Successful Years
by Norma Yaeger
Young women in the 21st century have choices. They can marry or not; the doors of educational institutions and industry are wide open to them. They can do and be whatever they choose. But to keep moving forward, it is important to understand from where we have come. And Norma Yaeger's story helps put it is perspective. Like most young women in the 1950's, Norma Yaeger married young, had children, and depended on her husband to support their families. Unlike most women of the times, when things went awry and her husband failed to provide, Norma took it upon herself to make a better life for her and her kids. The stock market enthralled her. Never mind that she knew of no other women in the industry. Norma set out to get her NY Stock Exchange license. When she acquired it in 1962, it was not to break a barrier, it was to support her family. Norma had already conquered her deepest fears, broke and alone with three children in an isolated house in the Catskills. And she knew what thrilled her- staring at stock prices through a big window of brokerages. Wall Street was not ready for her. Women were not allowed to step foot on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The phrase "glass ceiling" wasn't even invented yet. And equal pay for equal work was a term yet to be uttered. But Norma was unstoppable. She acquired the license, walked the floor of the Exchange, and fought for and got equal pay. As one of the pioneering women on Wall Street, Norma had a fascinating career, accomplished much, and paved the way for other women. But the glass ceiling is still only cracked, not yet broken, and she hopes that her story can be an inspiration to the women still pushing against it in all walks of life.