The underrepresentation of women in top university economics departments is well known, but a new research report “Gender Stereotyping in Academia: Evidence from Economics Job Market Rumors Forum” uncovers disturbing information about the obstacles women face in the profession. Alice H. Wu completed the award-winning thesis at Berkeley last year. To quote from the article “Ms. Wu mined more than a million posts from an anonymous online message board frequented by many economists. The 30 words most uniquely associated with discussions of women make for uncomfortable reading. In order, that list is: hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for “baby”), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute. The parallel list of words associated with discussions about men reveals no similarly singular or hostile theme. It includes words that are relevant to economics, such as adviser, Austrian (a school of thought in economics) mathematician, pricing, textbook and Wharton.” David Romer, a leading macroeconomist at Berkeley summarized the paper as “depicting a cesspool of misogyny.” Indeed. The full article can be found here.
Jason Henrichs, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur published an opinion piece noting attempts by women to solve the problem of discrimination and lack of diversity are doomed to failure not because women are ineffective, but because men “are the problem.” To quote “the slow pace of progress is directly correlated to men, ordinary men like me, not owning up to this. The solution lies in changing our behaviors.” The full article can be found here. This comes on the heels of Sarah Silverman’s rape prevention tips which include sage advice including “When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.” The full list may be found here.
Bloomberg published a survey with the jobs most segregated by gender and race and took on the question as to why workers have sorted themselves into these roles and what would happen if the pay gaps narrowed. The full article can be found here.
Finally, a fun (or horrifying) fact: it was not until 1986 that the New York Times would refer to a woman as Ms. in print. Think about that for a minute; up until a mere 31 years ago, a woman’s identity was defined by her marital status. This change finally came after 12 years of protests and marches. Coincidentally, the “first front page under the new policy carried an article reporting that the Supreme Court had ruled that sexual harassment of an employee by a supervisor violated federal law.” The full article can be found here.
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