Home > Uncategorized > “The economics profession is facing a mounting crisis of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying”

“The economics profession is facing a mounting crisis of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying”

from yesterday’s New York Times

The economics profession is facing a mounting crisis of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying that women in the field say has pushed many of them to the sidelines — or out of the field entirely.

Those issues took center stage at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting, the largest gathering of the profession, last weekend in Atlanta. Spurred by substantiated allegations of harassment against one of the most prominent young economists in the country, top women in the field shared stories of their own struggles with discrimination. Graduate students and junior professors demanded immediate steps by the A.E.A. to help victims of harassment and discipline economists who violate the group’s newly adopted code of conduct.

Janet L. Yellen, who was the first chairwoman of the Fed and will head the A.E.A. next year, said that addressing the issue “should be the highest priority” for economists in the years to come.

During a panel discussion on gender issues, Ms. Yellen was one of several women who shared stories of discrimination and bullying. Her fellow panelists described a list of “known” male predators in academic departments who have never been punished for behavior that included repeatedly making unwanted sexual advances toward junior colleagues.

One of the panelists, Susan Athey, a Stanford economist, said she had bought “khakis and loafers” to fit in with the men in the lunchroom of her first economics department, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She did so even though the department was the “most supportive environment” she has encountered in her career.

“I spent all my time hoping that no one would remember I was female,” said Ms. Athey, a past winner of a prestigious award for young economists. “I didn’t want to remind people that I’m a sexual being.”

Economics has long struggled with diversity. Only about a third of economics doctorates go to women, and the gender gap is wider at senior levels of the profession. Racial and ethnic minorities — particularly African-Americans and Latinos — are even more underrepresented. And notably, the gender gap in economics is wider than in other social sciences and, at least by some measures, traditionally male-dominated fields such as science and math.

Certain subfields, like finance, have a particularly poor record of advancing women. A branch of the American Finance Association presented survey results in Atlanta that show barely 10 percent of tenured finance professors, and 16 percent of tenure-track faculty, are women. In economics as a whole, women accounted for about 23 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty in 2015.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/business/economics-sexual-harassment-metoo.html

  1. January 11, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Back in 2010 I wrote a chapter about feminist economics in Economyths, noting that “while feminist thought has reshaped areas of study such as literary criticism and law, I still find it surprising how economics seems to have largely bypassed criticism – what could be less politically correct than rational economic man?” – guess that is finally starting to change!

  2. January 13, 2019 at 2:12 am

    At the best of times the rational economic man was a weak man, exceptions aside. History is eternally marked by women who shaped it. Noted examples are leading politicians (compare and contrast, for example, the first female prime minister of Israel to that of Britain, and continuing). Not to mention that the “united” states have never had a female president.

    Women lost their lives to get the right to vote. And how long ago was that? At the first sign of protest again the most progressive men that really did change the course of history, they got discredit for speaking out. Good examples are Lenin versus Luxembourg. The vast majority of violence, negation of body and soul is still against women by men regardless of the class of the latter. It is women who are taken as hostages, sold as slave labour, used and abused by all and sundry often in their own homes and families and in front of their children. Mostly to teach other women a lesson. The few women who have tried to play alpha male, are primarily rich, arrogant and money-oriented adults or younger women who imitate them as their role models.

    I am not at all surprised that we should feel a slight sign of relief. But it is far too late for a “science” such as this to address the basic realities of the global economy, let alone to suddenly catch up with political correctness. The truth of it is that the segmentation of all science, but particularly social science, which deals with society and psychology has historically been largely used to claim “specialist” knowledge. The kind of knowledge that is so specific that it really should be claimed by a handful of people. Even amongst these, women are underrepresented. Look up the percentage of surgeons, or…

    And in this era when the most obvious signs of geo-political, social, and economic, climatic (all intertwined and all perfectly predictable for decades) disasters, are we expected to celebrate this awakening? The only way forward is to move forward is to develop new realistic curricula. I have repeatedly asked for this (and put forward specific suggestions) and would still recommend it.

  3. Helen Sakho
    January 13, 2019 at 2:46 am

    At the best of times the rational economic man was a weak man, exceptions aside. History is eternally marked by women who shaped it. Noted examples are leading politicians (compare and contrast, for example, the first female prime minister of Israel to that of Britain, and continuing). Not to mention that the “united” states have never had a female president.
    Women lost their lives to get the right to vote. And how long ago was that? At the first sign of protest again the most progressive men that really did change the course of history, they got discredit for speaking out. Good examples are Lenin versus Luxembourg. The vast majority of violence, negation of body and soul is still against women by men regardless of the class of the latter. It is women who are taken as hostages, sold as slave labour, used and abused by all and sundry often in their own homes and families and in front of their children. Mostly to teach other women a lesson. The few women who have tried to play alpha male, are primarily rich, arrogant and money-oriented adults or younger women who imitate them as their role models.
    I am not at all surprised that we should feel a slight sign of relief. But it is far too late for a “science” such as this to address the basic realities of the global economy, let alone to suddenly catch up with political correctness. The truth of it is that the segmentation of all science, but particularly social science, which deals with society and psychology has historically been largely used to claim “specialist” knowledge. The kind of knowledge that is so specific that it really should be claimed by a handful of people. Even amongst these, women are underrepresented. Look up the percentage of surgeons, or…
    And in this era when the most obvious signs of geo-political, social, and economic, climatic (all intertwined and all perfectly predictable for decades) disasters, are we expected to celebrate this awakening? The only way forward is to move forward is to develop new realistic curricula. I have repeatedly asked for this (and put forward specific suggestions) and would still recommend it.

  4. January 15, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Until feminists become fully liberated humanists, the odds for avoiding mass-self-extinction seem minimal, at best. As V Lenin noticed, concurring with Jefferson & other founders of the US, “The surest way to destroy a capitalist democracy is to debauch its currency.” The Fed has been accomplishing that mission since its illegitimate inception (ca. 1913). Remember, it was established to prevent every national/global financial/monetary disaster that happened since 1913. What has any feminist ever said or done about curing that terminal socioeconomic illness? Unless, I missed something, the answer is: nothing.

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