Women in Economics

Most people know about the underrepresentation of women within STEM fields, but most aren’t aware of inequality within the field of economics. Economics is dominated by men with little representation of women as well as racial and ethnic minority groups.  Roughly 25% of all economics faculty are women, with that percentage decreasing to just 15% for full professors. Only about 34% of undergrad economics majors are women. Those percentages have stayed roughly the same since the 90s. One reason for such a lack of representation within the major is that females tend to get discouraged and receive harsher criticism than their peers. There are also very few role models or even publications of women within textbooks or just in the media. Since 1969, only 2 Nobel Prize winners within the field have been women. Another cause for the lack of female representation within the field is the high amount of sexism, harassment, and disrespectful treatment. Nearly half of women within the field have experienced discrimination based on sex. When giving presentations; female speakers get asked more questions, aren’t taken as seriously, and are not invited as often as their counterparts. This all leads to discouragement for students. When facing discrimination early on in their careers, especially within the first years of college, most women end up transferring to other departments. Outside organizations, like the Women in Economics Initiative, aim to bring light to the high amount of disparity while also trying to support and guild young females trying to venture into the field. At UPS, 4 out of the 7 economics professors are female. In classes, the majority of students are white males, but there are a lot of resources and support for women and minority students within the department. There is also a club on campus, Undergrad Women in Economics (UWE), that aims to give support, advice, and aid to all minority groups and not just limited to females. All of this aims to try and bridge the gap in this male dominant industry.

2 Replies to “Women in Economics”

  1. Im sharing this on FB as my Government the Australian Government need to encourage more Women and more Multicultural Students to study Economics which also has to change….Have you heard of Positive MoneyUK???

  2. Thanks for providing stats and raising awareness.

    I’m still puzzled at the undergraduate disparity at Puget Sound. Women major in business, but why not econ? Is this about course methods or topics or technical expectations? Are there particular expectations about post-graduate jobs for economists vs other majors? As you noted, since the majority of the UPS Economics faculty are women, we offer the role-modeling and mentorship.

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