Misogyny and Economists

While much attention has been paid recently to sexism in tech (for good reason), a new study published this month serves as an excellent reminder that workplace cultures that are hostile to women are not exclusive to Silicon Valley.

Alice Wu, who will start her doctoral studies in economics at Harvard next year, mined more than a million posts from an anonymous online message board frequented by economists. The site, econjobrumors.com, began as a place for economists to exchange gossip about who is hiring and being hired in the profession. Over time, it evolved into a virtual water cooler frequented by economics faculty members, graduate students and others.

Wu's analysis of the posts yielded a result that is disturbing to say the least: the 30 words most commonly associated with women (in order) are: hotter, lesbian, bb (short for "baby"), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.

Again, because I feel this needs repeating: Those are the words most commonly used on the forum in association with women. The list of words associated with men reveals no similarly singular theme. It includes words that are relevant to economics, such as adviser, Austrian (a school of thought in economics), mathematician, pricing, textbook, and Wharton.

There does, however, seem to be a silver lining embedded in the white paper—in the form of the researcher herself. When asked whether her research made her want to reconsider pursuing a career in economics, Wu said that on the contrary, it suggests "that more women should be in this field changing the landscape." New York Times

This is from The Broadsheet, a newsletter from Fortune magazine.

August 21,2017


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