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This is a manifesto for a Sunday. And it’s a big one, so pay attention:

Girls can do math. It is okay to get a low grade in math. Math opens the doors to many well-paying careers. STOP SELF-SELECTING OUT OF GREAT OCCUPATIONS JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO HAVE A 4.0!!!!!!!


The caps and exclamation points are there for a reason. Whenever a woman (and it is always a woman) tells me that she cannot balance a checkbook, I assume she is an idiot. I want to ask if she knows how to read, too.

Forget Fifty Shades of Gray; these ladies must be struggling to get through US Weekly.

The lovely and talented Kayt Sukel wrote about this issue earlier this week. Too many mothers act afraid of math, for dubious reasons that are probably culturally determined. They pass this on to their children, especially their girls. Kayt is a little more violent than I am, of course; but both of us find women who think it’s cute to be bad at math to be really annoying – and that’s when we are being nice.

I majored in economics as an undergraduate. I have an MBA from a notoriously quantitative program. Were my math grades good? No, they sucked, actually. But I slogged out two quarters of calculus and one of statistics as an undergraduate, and another two quarters of statistics and one of linear programming in graduate school. Without those classes – and those bad grades – I could not have had the education that I had or worked as I did.

Look, if you don’t want to go into finance, that’s fine. But I want to scream every time one of my female students (and it is only the females) tells me that she is dropping my class (the basic undergraduate corporation finance class) because she might get a C, or that she’s changing her major from finance to something else because finance is just too hard. I want to weep when a female student (and it’s only the females) say they don’t want to go into finance because it’s just not creative.

We have an entire financial crisis because of creative finance!

Trust me, half the men I worked with were idiots. Most of them were not geniuses or mathematicians. There is enough gender discrimination on Wall Street that their Y chromosomes definitely helped them get and keep their jobs, but they were capable of one other thing that too many women cannot or will not do: they sat through hard math classes, even if the material wasn’t creative, even if they did not get a good grade.

Women need to stop self-selecting out of hard fields. And they certainly need to stop bragging about how they made it out of school incapable of using a calculator to do the simple addition and subtraction needed to balance a checkbook.

And so, ladies at University of Illinois at Chicago, you probably won’t get an A in corporation finance. But here’s the thing: most of the men in the class won’t get an A, either. They are not any smarter, any better at math, than you are. So stop being scared.  Go out there and get the preparation you need for the field you want to enter.