Paul Tudor Jones faces backlash over mom comments

Paul Tudor Jones, left, speaks with Steven Cohen, chief executive of SAC Capital Advisors, at at the Robin Hood Foundation Gala in New York this month. Jones is in hot water over comments he made about female traders in April. (Amanda Gordon / Bloomberg / May 13, 2013)

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Anne-Marie Slaughter. Marissa Mayer. Sheryl Sandberg. Paul Tudor Jones?

The founder of Tudor Investment Corp. seems, almost by accident, to be the newest voice in the debate about women at work. The hedge fund honcho, ranked 123rd on Forbes’ list of U.S. billionaires, is batting back criticism over comments he made last month while on a panel at the University of Virginia.

During the question and answer portion of the event at the McIntire School of Commerce, Jones responded to a question from the audience about why the only participants were “rich, white, middle-aged men.”

In a video obtained by the Washington Post via a Freedom of Information Act request, he discusses former female colleagues who had children — a decision Jones referred to as “as big of a killer as divorce is” to the focus necessary to survive as a macro trader.

“You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men, period, end of story,” Jones said. “And the reason why is not because they are not capable. They are very capable.”

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In essence: Blame it on the babies, he said.

“As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,” said Jones, a graduate of the university. “Every single investment idea, every desire to understand what’s going to make this go up or down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience … between that mother and that baby.”

Jones has since backpedaled on what he called his “off-the-cuff remarks” in a statement to the Post. He said he was discussing the tiny pool of a few thousand global macro traders, who are on call at all hours in a profession that considers “emotional highs and lows” to be “obstacles to success.”

He said he has encouraged his three daughters to go into the field, teaching them that “great success is possible in any field — from music to mathematics to macro trading — 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.”

So far, Yahoo Chief Executive Mayer and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sandberg, both major figures in discussions about career-minded women, have stayed publicly silent on the Jones talk.

But Slaughter, the Princeton professor who last year gained notoriety for her article about the career-family balance, weighed in on the Jones talk.

“Arghhh…” she wrote in one tweet, noting in another that “he’s done his share of damage.”

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