It is difficult for mothers to become traders because connecting with a child is a "focus killer," hedge-fund chief Paul Tudor Jones told an audience at a Q and A session at the University of Virginia last month. Responding to a question from the audience about why the panel of hedge-fund heavy hitters didn't include any women, Jones said, "You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men, period, end of story."
I appreciate Jones' candor, but I can't believe he said it. He clearly was giving his honest opinion. He believes he's right. He also took great pains to say that it's not that women aren't capable, they are. I trust that he believes that.
(He also released a statement Friday, after a video of his remarks hit the web. Apologizing that "my remarks offended," he added: "I believe that great success is possible in any field ... as long as a woman or man has the skill, passion, and repetitions to work through the inevitable life events that arise along the way.")
But in his original remarks at UVA, Jones explained that women bonding with their children "are overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience ... which a man will never share." I wonder how long this most beautiful experience knocks women off their game.
If a man will never share it, how can Jones know what it does to a woman's psyche? Paul Tudor Jones is a macro trader of obvious skill and intellect, but I wonder if he has even considered the possibility that his statement might not hold water over time. One could have said something similar years ago about doctors. Today there are just as many women graduating medical school as men.
"Never, end of story" is a really long time. A lot can happen in that amount of time. Perhaps women get a chance to trade through motherhood and perhaps some women do well at it. Perhaps the gender stereotypes that invariably give men more opportunities than women will subside over time. Perhaps women really are capable.
One last thing. How can a guy that smart think that a statement like that, prefaced from the moderator with "no quotes with attribution should leave this room" could actually lead to no quotes leaving the room? Did he consider the possibility, just the possibility, that it could get out?
Correction: An earlier version said "he wonders how long this most beautiful experience knocks women off their game."
_ By Karen Finerman for CNBC.com
Karen Finerman is president of Metropolitan Capital Advisors, a hedge fund she co-founded in 1992, and a mother of four. She is the author of a forthcoming book, "Finerman's Rules: Secrets I'd Only Tell My Daughters About Business and Life."