Making a difference in a changing world

Women in Economics hopes for change within the male-domintaed field

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Women in Economics, Contributor

From Janet Yellen, the first female US federal reserve chair and the first female US treasury secretary, to Dambisa Moyo, who changed the conversation surrounding international development, to Edith Abbot, who helped create social security, women have made vital contributions to economics throughout history. Still, a survey by the American Economic Association finds that only 16% of female economists feel respected in the field. Economics, a male-dominated field, has been described as a “hostile environment” towards women, and as 70% of woman economists say their work is taken less seriously than their male colleagues, 50% that that they have been treated unfairly on the basis of sex, and 50% that they have avoided speaking at a conference to avoid harassment, it is easy to see why. Further, only 14% of Black economists agreed to the survey statement “people of my race/ethnicity are respected within the field,” and only 25% of LGBTQ+ economists said they felt the field respects people of their sexual orientation. These numbers highlight an alarming trend of alienation of nonwhite, nonheterosexual, nonmale economists, amplified for those with intersecting identities. 

It is in this context that Women in Economics hopes to make a difference. We meet every other week to hold discussions, watch guest speakers, and work on professional development. We are also working on creating a mentorship program to match students with economists working in the field they can relate to and take professional advice from. The goal is to build an inclusive community in economics and to help our students receive mentorship and advice that will help them succeed. We meet on Webex every other Monday at 6:30 pm, and we welcome anyone interested in this mission. If you would like to join, just send a quick email to [email protected], and we’ll get meeting information to you as soon as possible.

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