In a study of eight leading introductory economics textbooks, Betty Stevenson and Hanna Zlotnick of the University of Michigan found a gender mix that favors men even more than reality does. The duo tallied 2,858 people—economists, business leaders, policy makers, celebrities, and fictional characters—across the eight books, categorizing the gender, role, and setting of each. They found that just 18% of people in the textbooks were female, far lower than the 57% of college students who are, and still lower than the share of women (51%) in the US.
Bias creeps into the most popular introductory economics textbooks, which refer to men four times as often as they do women. Ninety percent of the economists cited in those textbooks are men, Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist, told the panel on gender issues in economics, based on a paper she is about to complete. When women are mentioned in textbook examples, they are more likely to be shopping or cleaning than running a company or making public policy.
Papers by women scored, on average, higher than those by men. That was true for both first drafts and final, published versions. But the trajectories of men’s and women’s writing styles diverged.The draft of the very first paper published by a female author was just as readable as the draft of a man’s first paper. Women’s papers, however, became more readable as their careers progressed. No such trends were seen for men. Women, it seems, had to improve their drafts to get their research published, whereas men did not.
Slatyer, 33, is soft-spoken but talks quickly and animatedly. Beneath her quiet demeanor, “there’s a fierceness,” says MIT colleague Jesse Thaler. Growing up mostly in Canberra, Australia, Slatyer read voraciously. As she pored over A Brief History of Time, she realized physics sought to answer hefty questions about the universe largely through math, for which she had a natural knack. After majoring in theoretical physics, she earned a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard, did a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study and joined MIT in 2013.
Researchers from the Eastern Washington University conducted two studies. In the first one, they relied on data from 88 professors surveyed in the US and found that students felt more comfortable asking female teachers for academic favors than they did with a male in the same profession. Female teachers also seemed to have friendlier relationships with students than their male counterparts, perhaps making them more approachable. Although the relationships may be positive, the burden of being asked for favors takes a more emotional toll on women, the study suggests. The second study analyzed 121 college students and found that those who felt entitled to academic success, regardless of their actual performance, were most likely to ask a female professor for extra favors, and react negatively if they didn’t get what they wanted. Meanwhile, they were less likely to nag a male professor after being rejected.
Kimmel says the program, which will be offered exclusively online, will explore the research on the impact of media representations on men. As an example, he points to the transformation of the action figure G.I. Joe, which has gotten significantly more muscular through the years. "The effect on a young boy of seeing these kinds of unbelievably, sort of hyper pumped up guys is, 'I feel small. I feel inadequate. I have to get bigger. I am not big enough,' " Kimmel said. "We have a lot of good research on the effect of these kind of media images on girls' development ... so now we have to have that parallel conversation about boys because we basically ignored them," he said.
The most common reason cited by respondents was that the added individual was the director of their laboratory. The second most common reason given was that the added individual was in a position of authority and could affect the scholar’s career – something that Dr Fong and Professor Wilhite said was “most disturbing”. Female academics were, on average, 38 per cent more likely than their male peers to have felt obliged to add an author to a manuscript, an issue that the report’s authors attributed to “the dearth of other females” in senior or leadership positions, leaving them with “fewer mentors to help navigate these political minefields”.
“When I go to seminars in other disciplines, the tenor of the seminars tends to be a lot less about scoring points and…nail[ing] the speaker to the blackboard,” she said in an interview published this month on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In economics, she says, presenting your latest findings can feel more like a testimony in front of a firing squad than a collaborative space where other experts help you sharpen your research. One of the problems with this kind of culture, Case believes, is “women oftentimes don’t respond as well to that as men do.”
An M.B.A. education is no longer just about finance, marketing, accounting and economics. As topics like sexual harassment dominate the national conversation and chief executives weigh in on the ethical and social issues of the day, business schools around the country are hastily reshaping their curriculums with case studies ripped straight from the headlines.
While gender equality in the workplace has become a much-discussed topic, we still have a long way to go to achieve parity. For example, recent analysis of the Times Higher Education’s world rankings data shows that in 2016–17, 36 of the top 200 universities globally – just 18% – have a female leader. A slight increase on the previous year, when only 17% were led by women, it is nonetheless representative of the gender inequality that persists more widely in higher education across the globe.
On the surface at least, women are thriving in British universities. Female students now outnumber men in almost two-thirds of subjects, and nearly half of all academics are women. But a closer look at the figures show that the higher echelons of academia continue to be stacked with men. Only 24% of professors are women, according to the latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.