We hear a lot about the under-representation of women in the stem fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
But the proportion of women in the economy is by some measures the most small.
In the united states, only about 13% of women hold permanent academic positions in economics; and in the united KINGDOM, the proportion is only slightly better at 15.5%.
Only one woman has won the Nobel Prize for economics American Elinor Ostrom in 2009.
And there was not even a single woman on some of the lists floating about guess who is this year’s winner of the prize – it went to their behaviour, the economist Richard Thaler.
Some have argued that these figures are not necessarily the result of bias.
Perhaps, they say, women are simply behaving rationally and choosing the different disciplines that are perhaps more suited to their temperament and skills, or choosing to work in different areas.
But the University of Cambridge, the professor of economics Victoria Bateman said that you can’t really explain all the gaps.
“I think that this way of thinking about the problem, that is completely false,” she said.
“But I think [it] helps explain why economists have for too long ignored this problem.
“Because if the economists models are suggesting that sexism does not exist, that it is the result of people’s free choice and… of their personal characteristics, then you deny the fact there’s a problem.”‘Hotties’ vs ‘Wharton’
In fact, there is a growing body of research suggests that there are some biases – overt and the unconscious – which could contribute to the lack of women in academic economic departments.
A study published by the University of California, Berkeley Alice Wu made waves at the beginning of this year.
Using natural language processing, Wu has analyzed more than a million messages on a website called EconJobRumors.com, which is a kind of online forum where academic economists to discuss job opportunities and candidates.
Like a lot of places on the internet, the conversations are not particularly pretty or politically correct.
Wu has found that when the posters on the site discussed women economists, they have used radically different terms than those which have been used to discuss male economists.
Many of these words are incredibly offensive. Posters tend to discuss a woman’s physical appearance (and hot hottie have been in the top ten) considering that the term used with men tended to focus on their intellectual capacity (Wharton and austria – for the economic school of thought – have been among the first words to the men).”The women suffer a penalty”
The paper has provoked much debate within the economic community – with many saying that what people say on the internet is not necessarily an indication of how they really think.
The university of Bristol professor Sarah Smith said: “I think this is an extreme view. I do not think that it is a representation of the whole profession.”
But, she adds: “I don’t think it is surprising when you tie with the research to the proportion of women at different levels.”
Professor Smith – who is also the president of the Royal economic Society Women’s Committee-of-the – cites other evidence that suggests a bias against women in the profession, such as a paper published by a Harvard researcher Heather Sarsons.
This study has found that another co-author of the paper on an economist to resume corresponds to an 8% increase in the probability of a human economist of obtaining a permanent position after, but only an increase of 2% for women candidates.
Interestingly, the gap decreased if the women co-author articles with other women.
Sarsons wrote in the book: “solo-authored papers to send a clear signal about his ability, the co-author of articles do not provide specific information on each contributor of skills. I find that women incur a penalty when they co-author the men do not have the experience.”
His paper, she added in a note to the bottom of the page was intentionally unique to the author.
There are other studies that suggest that women economists papers to take six more months to the peer review process in top journals than their male counterparts; and that, when women gain standing in the faculty of jobs in the economy, they are paid less; and that even if a woman goes to the front of a conference room – there may be no men listening to them.
“There is a very interesting and quick little calculation that has been done by the Center for Global Development, which has its headquarters in Washington and London,” says Cambridge Prof Bateman.
“When they looked at male attendance at seminars that they run, they find that he has fallen quite considerably each time that sex was mentioned in the seminar topic.”
Prof Batemen said about the fact that there are so few women at the top, many young women may not see themselves in these positions. She notes that, in the early 2000s, the proportion of women studying economics in British universities was about 30%.
It is only 26% today. “Barely half of the story”
That women do not even have the choice to enter the discipline really surprised me. So I went to Cambridge to talk about some of the students of the first cycle in the economy.
I met Paulin Ausser, in the last year of the economy, a student at the University Centre on a busy Sunday. I asked him what his experience in the study of the economy had been like.
“When I think of my classes last year, for example, of the 11 teachers and supervisors I have had throughout the year and are based at the faculty, one was a woman,” she said.
This is why, she says, it can sometimes be difficult to imagine a career in academic research in economics, even if it hoped to continue at the graduate level.
“The representation is just something that does affect me because I’m unconsciously looking for role models or someone where I can say, you know, ‘oh it could be me up there teaching this reading.””
Clara Starrsjo, a second-year student said that she notices that her male and female classmates approach economic problems in a different way – which often leads to more comprehensive answers.
This is why she became passionate about increasing the number of women who study the economy – including the meeting with the women in the economy Women students in the Economy every day of autumn.
I ask him what she said to these women, they should enter in the field – even if the odds may seem stacked against them.
“For the time being, economists have only looked at the world around them through male eyes, and this only gives us half of the story,” she said, she said.
“And with only half of the story, how can we get results that will help the entire population?”