Economics in Europe: Still a man's world?
🇪🇺 / gender differences in studying economics / #46
Since I am an economist, I find the following paper about gender differences in studying economics in Europe interesting, and I hope that those less interested in that quite special topic will not be too bored. I’ll keep it short anyway.
When I was studying in the 1990s, economics mainly was for guys. As stupid as the generalized statement was back then, it is today.
Though this sentence is stupid, it has a true core still. Male students still dominate the study of economics.
The economists Rigissa Megalokonomou, Marian Vidal-Fernandez and Duygu Yengin have examined the representation of women in undergraduate economics degrees in 25 European countries during 2014–2018 (The study only differentiates between men and women).
The proportion of women graduating in economics has decreased or remained stagnant over the past two decades. Across Europe, this conversion has been around 0.6 on average. Put simply: For every 100 men with an economics degree, there are 60 women.
If you look at the individual countries, the differences are considerable. Interestingly enough, several Eastern European countries have proportionally more women graduating in economics than men, for instance, Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria.
Not surprisingly, the gender imbalance worsens as we move up the professional academic ladder. 40 per cent of people at entry-level research positions are female; the share of women falls to 22 per cent at the level of full professor.
Women are not the only group underrepresented in economics. "The field of economics is becoming less popular among students from a low socioeconomic status and other minorities," the scientists write in their paper.
What is needed? For example, role models.
The authors cite a study that found out that female university students exposed to successful and charismatic women who majored in economics at the same university are almost twice as likely to major in economics and experience higher wages in the labour market.