International Women’s Day – Celebrating Women in Economics

For International Women’s Day this year, the theme is equality – each for equal. We look at the topic ‘Women in Economics’, and celebrate the people working to improve diversity in a predominantly male field.

We take a look at different perspectives on the subject as we speak to current student, Bessie, who wrote her blog ‘The Male Default in Economics’ after becoming aware just how rife inequality was in economics, academic Christine Valente, discussing her inspiration for following a career path in economics, look at the first pioneering female role models in economics, and highlight the work our Head of Economics, Professor Sarah Smith does to champion diversity in the subject.

A rich history of women in economics at Bristol, starting in 1876

preview of an article and image about Mary PaleyMary Paley, a pioneer in the field of economics, an inspiration to women in economics internationally, arrived in Bristol in 1876.

Mary was the first woman to pass final exams in political economy at University of Cambridge, and then become the first female economics lecturer at Newnham college, Cambridge. She arrived in Bristol in the late 1870’s with her husband, the economist Alfred Marshall, where she became one of the first female lecturers at the University College Bristol and “was an inspiration to many generations of students.”

We even have a building named after her at the Department of Economics.

Read more in Sarah Smith’s article, ‘Mary Paley, An early champion of women in economics’ featured in Hodder Education Economic Review.

Campaigning for diversity in Economics

Head of Economics, Professor Sarah Smith champions improving diversity in economics. Five months ago, alongside a co-chair, Sarah launched Discover Economics, a national campaign to promote greater diversity among students, providing education on the opportunities a degree in economics could provide, and working to change existing perceptions in the field.

In her article ‘What does an economist look like?’ she explores the stereotypes that exist around economics, and why we need more women economists.

people walking on pavement and their shadowsStudent interview: Bessie Stevens, BSc Philosophy and Economics, author of ‘The Male Default in Economics’

We spoke to Bessie after reading her blog ‘The Male Default in Economics’, where she highlights how many “deeply entrenched male biases” there are throughout the world. Did you know for example, that mobile phones are not designed to fit a female hand? Read our interview with Bessie where we discover why she chose to study Economics, where she plans her career to take her, and what inspired her to explore the topic of male dominance within the field of economics.

Academic Spotlight: an interview with Christine Valente, Associate Professor in Economics at University of Bristol

portrait of Dr Christine ValenteWe caught up with Dr Christine Valente, Reader and Associate Professor from the Department of Economics to find out what drew her to pursue a career in economics, to discover her research specialism, and to find out who her female role models are.

“There are lots of women out there whose careers are incredibly impressive and/or whose life stories are wonderful illustrations of how hope, grit, grace and talent can prevail in the most dire circumstances – the ‘Little people, BIG DREAMS’ book collection I read with my children are full of such amazing examples.”

Read our interview with Christine.