Belle Derks (UU): How the stereotype of ’the successful economist’ perpetuates the underrepresentation of women in economics

Although it is well-known that women are vastly underrepresented in natural sciences and technology, in the economics and business departments at Dutch universities the representation of women in full professor positions is even lower (10.4 percent in 2016, despite the fact that 40% of PhD students in EB are women). In this presentation, I present data from a recent study among over 4000 academics in the Netherlands.

Organised by Environmental Economics and Natural Resources

Tue 12 February 2019 12:00 to 13:00

Venue Leeuwenborch, gebouwnummer 201
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen
Room C78

Results reveal that the occupational stereotype in academia is dominated by agentic (being self-interested, competitive and performance-oriented) rather than communal traits (being a good collaborator and good colleague), and that this highly agentic occupational stereotype is particularly strong in disciplines in which women are underrepresented (such as economics and business). I will discuss how the highly agentic occupational stereotype may create gender bias and reduce the degree to which women (and men!) feel they fit in, this way creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that serves to perpetuate the underrepresentation of women in economics.