Review: EconTEAching Seminar – Teaching Gender Economics

Joined by Astrid Kunze (Norwegian School of Economics), Günseli Berik (University of Utah) and Yana Rodgers (Rutgers School of Arts and Science), this EconTEAching seminar focuses on engaging a broad discussion teaching gender economics. The speakers shared their personal experiences and their research findings on promoting and integrating a gender perspective in teaching economics courses in particular.

Significance of integrating a gender perspective

Reducing the gender gap in the economics profession. A survey from the American Economic Association discovered that at least 48% of female economists reported they had experienced gender discrimination compared to the 4% reported by their male counterparts. Synonymously, Dr Stefania Parades Fuentes’ socioeconomic research on economics undergraduate students in the UK shows that there is a smaller percentage of female students than male students. Integrating gender perspective could increase the representation of women who take economics courses and potentially attract additional students who might otherwise find economics to have little relevance.

Path to creating a more equitable development. Subsequently, an increase in female involvement in the economics profession will allow for a more active female voice in policy making which brings upon a more equitable development. Hence, as suggested by Professor Yana Rodgers, looking into sex-disaggregated data allows for a better evaluation of gendered outcomes and thereafter, the adoption of relevant development policies. This links with the previous point as it then subsequently will make the economic profession and policy making more welcoming for women.

Diversity and gender composition in firms. Looking at time trends, Professor Astrid Kunze highlights there is causal evidence that supports the need for firms to promote more gender diversity. On top of that, the rise of female employment rates from 40% to 70% within the past 45 years emphasises the need for the adoption of more gender perspectives to address the growing need? for female involvement in the labour market.

Methods of featuring gender perspective in economic modules

Development economics modules. As presented by Professor Günseli Berik and Professor Yana Rodgers, development economics presents an ideal opportunity to introduce students to the importance of gender differences in economic outcomes. Their proposal provides immense types of gender-aware resources ranging from scholarly articles and data sources to films for the three main sections where gender perspectives can be incorporated. The prototype of a gendered development economics course presented vividly presents a fundamental framework for students into the creation of a more equitable development plan in the global north.

Usage of ungendered resources and non-economic courses. Bringing the gender perspective is not limited to resources that have taken gender perspective into account. Thus, making the adoption of a gender perspective in development economic courses feasible and desirable.
This is not limited to economics courses. Professor Rodgers also provides suggestions on how gender perspectives can be incorporated into other modules such as analysing gender elements in wages in a statistics course.

LGBTQ+ perspective. While this seminar only lightly touches on incorporating the LGBTQ+ community perspective in the courses, Professor Rodgers highlights the growing data collated on sex and LGTBQ+ disaggregated data recently provides an avenue for more studies and potential development policies in this area which can be further incorporated to increase the representation in the field.

Further integration of gender perspective for economic courses

Ethics requirement. Further consideration into the gender involvement of students in more gendered modules, it was found that there is more active female participation. Professor Kunze’s module which led her to receive an award from the European Economic Association (EEA) showed a significant rise in male students’ participation after the selective course’s participation met the ethics requirement of the master’s course. This meant that economics departments could look into incorporating requirements for students to choose from a range of gendered modules which can lead to a more all-rounded economics degree.

Female students and A-Level mathematics. Dr Parades Fuentes’ study shows that while female students are less likely to drop out and are more likely to be awarded a “good degree” (upper second class and above) and the A-levels economics course is relatively popular among female students, there is a still lower percentage of female students in economic undergraduate courses in the UK. Looking at the data further, there is a smaller percentage of female students studying economics and mathematics in A-Levels which means that more can be done in boosting female students’ confidence in mathematics.

Grants and increasing representation. More can be done in establishing a more welcoming scene to increase the representation, particularly of women in the economic profession. This includes increasing the studies to better understand the interventions to increase women’s representation. The Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) grant does exactly that. It is offering grants of up to $200,000 for people to evaluate the interventions that increase representation of women in all economic professions including teaching!

Summing Up

The economics courses in university have an important role in addressing the gender representation needed in the economics professions and there are a lot of easy methods to incorporate a gender perspective into the economics course in particular. An increase in gender perspectives will indefinitely be the stepping stone to a wider representation of the female and also LGBTQ+ community in forming vital development plans and getting involved in firms’ higher management.

Written by Sangetavathy Thanasegeren

Image credit: pexels magda ehlers

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