The natural sciences are frequently said to be a veritable male stronghold. The equally striking underrepresentation of women in the field of economics is a less known fact. Still, this may very well have consequences for socio-economic policy.
In many countries, the academic position of female economists is a very disadvantaged one. Is it because of their views on economic matters, because of their values, or has it to do with workplace practices?
Compared to other scientific disciplines, academics in economics and business stress the importance of stereotypical masculine traits like self-confidence and competitiveness for career success. Feminine traits like cooperativeness and modesty are deemed less important. Could this explain the low number of female academics in economics and business?
It used to be assumed that boys are better at economics than girls. However, today the gender gap in economics education is ancient history. In fact, now female students are the ones performing best in econometrics, the most difficult educational programme in the economics domain.
The gender imbalance in economics does not only make a fascinating research topic, it is also highly personal for many researchers. In a round table discussion we asked both female and male economists to share their views.
At first sight, the gender imbalance in academia seems weird. Discrimination and prejudices are usually of less influence when a performance can be objectively measured. Academia is furthermore characterized by a freedom of where and when to work, which makes it attractive for a work-life balance. So …?