Student interview: Discussing ‘Women in Economics’ with Bessie Stevens

people talking with Wills Memorial building in backgroundMeet Bessie Stevens, BSc Philosophy and Economics student, and author of ‘The Male Default in Economics’

As part of our International Women’s Day focus on Women in Economics, we caught up with final-year BSc Philosophy and Economics student, Bessie.

Bessie shares thoughts around the topic ‘Women in Economics’, her inspiration for writing her blog ‘The Male Default in Economics’, and explains how this has inspired her future ambitions and plans.

Why did you choose to study Economics at Bristol? 

I chose to study Economics and Philosophy at Bristol because the course gave me insights into thinking beyond the everyday norm and understanding abstract concepts.

Economics has introduced me to ideas I had never thought about before like how prices are determined and why consumers behave in certain ways.

I liked how Bristol focused on the technical side of economics too, which while at times is tough, simplifies the complexities of human nature to help us understand the world.  

Where would you like your career in Economics to take you?  

I have been offered a place on the graduate scheme Teach First where I will be teaching maths at a secondary school for two years.

Teach First is a charity that helps to address educational inequality and strives to build a fair education. I hope to continue teaching, perhaps moving to an economics department. Instead of continuing to teach, I may apply to the civil service. I would hope to work in the policy sector and continue to tackle educational inequality.

Since writing on this topic, an ambition would be to encourage more girls to study economics which I think is imperative to removing gender inequality in the subject. 

people walking on pavement and their shadowsWhat inspired you to explore male dominance within the field of economics?

After reading the book ‘Invisible Women: Exposing the Data Bias in a World Designed for Men’ by Caroline Criado Perez, I was alarmed by how many deeply entrenched male biases there were throughout the world which I was blind to. This ranged from the greatly unequal number of male statues to female statues in the UK – for example, there are more named John alone than female non-royal named figures – to the fact that phones are not designed to fit a female hand.

I then reflected upon my life in general, with my university degree being a prominent part of it at present, and became intrigued by just how unequal the economics course at Bristol was.

While researching, I came across streams of articles highlighting how inequality was rife within economics as a whole and decided it would be an interesting topic to write about. It was something I knew was an issue but I didn’t realise the full extent of it. I thought it should be something more people should know about too as information has such a powerful impact. 

Read Bessie’s blog ‘The Male Default in Economics’.