Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The under-representation of women at the AEA meetings

There is no secret that women are under-represented in the Economics profession. Things have improved over time, though, but the proportion of women thins considerably as you look further up in the academics ranks. And this is not just a cohort effect coming from the increased proportion of women taking up Economics compared to previous years. Is there still a glass ceiling, despite the huge pressures on departments to hire and promote women?

Rosemary Cunningham and Madeline Zavodny show that one way to look at this is how well women are represented on the program of the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. Again, things have improved over time, but they are still under-represented compared to their numbers in the profession. And this despite the fact that there are sessions essentially reserved for them organized by CSWEP (Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession) and IAFE (International Association of Feminist Economists). The classic argument is that women do not come to the meeting because it is held during a school holiday (very early January), but there is daycare. I would rather argue that it has to do with how the program is put together. As in much of what is going on at the AEA, being part of the old boys network is essential. Very few people from outside are lucky to break through. Women simply do not like taking part in such professional shmoozing, and they are not that welcome either. The fact that it is old people doing the program does not help either.


Madeline Zavodny said...

Thank you for featuring Rosemary Cunningham's and my paper. We hope it leads to some positive discussions among the AEA program committee. We certainly welcome any feedback!

why not said...

day care stopped a while back

Economic Logician said...

Does anybody know why? Lack of demand? How did CSWEP take it?