Jones’s comments came during the question-and-answer session of an April 26 symposium at the U-Va. McIntire School of Commerce that featured Jones and several other prominent investors. The Washington Post obtained access to a video of the discussion through a Freedom of Information Act request this week.
At the symposium, a person in the audience submitted a question — labeled “elephant in the room” — that asked the all-male panel what it would take to get more diversity on the stage. In a lengthy answer, Jones said that women are “very capable” but lose focus once they have children.
“You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men,” Jones said. “Period. End of story.”
Jones gave the example of two women who worked with him at a stock brokerage in the late 1970s, then married and had children.
“As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,” Jones said, motioning to his chest. Jones said the women were “overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience” of connecting with a child and could no longer focus on investment ideas or market movements. He doesn’t expect this to change.
“If you told me that this woman was not going to have a baby — certainly can get married, but not going to have a baby — then I think it would be a completely different panel 20 years from now,” said Jones, who has three daughters. “Assuming that she’s not going to have a baby.”
Jones is a 1976 graduate of U-Va. who has given more than $100 million to the university. He is the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, which has invested more than $1 billion in fighting poverty in New York City.
In a statement Jones issued to The Post on Friday, he said, in part: “My off the cuff remarks at the University of Virginia were with regard to global macro traders, who are on-call 24/7. . . . Life events, such as birth, divorce, death of a loved one and other emotional highs and lows are obstacles to success in this specific field of finance but pass with time.” He also added an apology.