I don't really want to write a whole post about this since I'm sure I'd accidentally reveal something identifying or just ramble on a lot anyway, but I feel like the ongoing attempts by Gawker and Jezebel to paint all of corporate/investment banking as some kind of hellhole are a little bit ridiculous (eg. today this http://jezebel.com/surprise-big-b… article).
Clearly as a guy I can't speak for the sexism personally, though I will say that I have hardly ever been witness to any 'bro' talk- indeed, people at big banks come from all over the world much of the time and thus (from my experience) everyone has their own friends and keeps very much to themselves outside of work.
The hours are long and hard, particularly if you're just starting out. Having said that, they really are improving (at least in the UK) and are from what I can tell way less than when I started about ten years ago. HR is actually receptive for the most part because they don't want to lose the good people.
In terms of culture, I just can't understand where these people come from. Yes, there are occasional mass layoffs and you should always be acquaintances with enough people who can say that you're in the top 10% or whatever that you survive- but that's the case at LOTS of big companies. Apart from that I come into the office every day to a bunch of friendly people, all of whom are aware that they are making money most people will never earn in their lives and are part of a relatively successful team. I don't 'enjoy' my job in the sense that I don't jump for joy every morning at 6AM when I wake up, but it really isn't that bad, and apart from a couple stereotypical bros who couldn't get jobs in the NY office, everyone is nice.
In terms of sexism, like I said I haven't seen any in my area. HAVING SAID THAT, I have been down to the trading floor a few times and a suspiciously (in fact, ridiculously) large number of the traders were attractive blonde white women, so I'm not saying it doesn't exist.
Nevertheless, I think people (especially Gawker) try so hard to make banking seem like a terrible soul-sucking job when in reality it really isn't. In fact it can be quite rewarding pulling off a successful deal and earning a good bonus. There isn't more schmoozing than any other business I know of, and in many jobs your team is paid based on how much money you bring in, which is pretty decent.
So there's my 2 cents- ended up being a ramble anyway.