The Gender Gap in the field of Economics
It is hard to believe that major democracies such as the US and the UK can claim only minimal female participation in the field of economics. The former has only approximately 13% females in the pool of academic economists while the latter has a slightly better yet still concerning 15.5%.
The root cause of this pressing issue has been the subject of vigorous debate. Some point at the presence of a general aura of gender discrimination. Others believe gender discrimination is not a factor and women are choosing to go into other fields due to their own personal choices.
University of California, Berkeley Economist Alice Wu highlighted in a published research paper how a certain website titled Economics Job Market Rumors frequently releases derogatory comments towards females in the field.
Other researchers, such as University of Liverpool Economist Erin Hengel, have claimed that females must evince significantly better clarity in their writing in order to have their work published. She further notes that females must wait a longer period of time to have their work published.
The statistics regarding this issue are endless. Betsey Stevenson, University of Michigan Economist conducted an analysis to evaluate the number of females economic policy makers whose names are cited in economics textbooks. Her analysis revealed that only a mere 6% of policymakers referred to in the textbooks were women.
While the issue is indisputable, the quest for a solution is the primary challenge. Perhaps an increased presence of seminars and workshops which encourage female participation may take us one step closer to resolving the matter.
Increasing female participation would yield a complete, comprehensive view of this wonderful field. As Clara Starrsjo, a second year student, puts it “ For the moment economists have only looked at the world around them through male eyes and this only provides us with half the story….And with only half the story how can we get results that will help the whole population?”