International women’s day is a worldwide event that celebrates the achievements of women and calls for gender equality across the board; from the political spectrum to social issues. Women’s economic empowerment is a key issue, as it is noted that “when more women work, economies grow.”
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have some key facts that demonstrate that changes still need to be made to help women became an active part of economics; whether it is through studying economics itself or the number of women who work in the field, to employment. Despite more women being in work than before there are still stark differences on their experiences.
1. There are a lot of initiatives to change the underrepresentation of girls studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects but not much has been focussed on economics considering the figure is lower. It is noted that in the UK, the proportion of girls studying for an economics degree is lowering year by year than increasing.
2. Similarly, only 15.5% of academic economists’ positions are held by women in the UK and the figure is even lower in the US at just 13%. There are also studies that suggest female economists’ papers take much longer to be peer reviewed in top journals than male economists.
3. Men still continue to dominate academic economics just as much as they do in the financial and banking sector. Only one in four of people who attain a senior role in this sector are a female.
4. In the third quarter of 2015, the UK had the 5th largest female employment rate among member states of the European Union. Sweden topped the list and Greece had the lowest.
5. More women work part-time than men; 42% of women in employment were working part-time compared to only 13% of men. Reasons for this range from how women take on part time-work or flexible working hours after having children. Women who work part time after having children are more likely to be affected by the gender pay gap in the UK.
6. It is noted that women in developing countries work more than men. In most countries women spend more time doing housework that is unpaid whilst men have more leisure time.
7. Of all the Nobel prizes awarded for economics, only one has gone to a woman- Elinor Ostrom in 2009. Elinor was recognised “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons.” This is often seen to be emblematic of the problems associated with the lack of women in the field of economics.
8. Women in the European Union report care and family responsibilities as the reason for not being in the labour force whereas only 3% of men report the same issue.
9. A study by the American Economic Association found out that three quarters (77%) of the people mentioned in economics textbooks are all male. The study found out that whenever women are mentioned in the textbooks they tend to take more passive roles – be it they are involved in household work or fashion etc. When the textbooks mention men they are represented in relation to business. These reading materials that students are using reinforce the traditional stereotypes of both men and women; that economics and business is a man’s world.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day how far do you think women have come to achieving gender equality? Is there still a long way ahead?
Featured image credit: Like a boss by Brooke Larke. Public domain via Unsplash.