I’m in bitterly cold Philadelphia at the moment attending the meetings of the American Economic Association (and a bunch of related societies). I was at a very interesting session on long-run discounting, which had a panel of six with (as is common) one woman[^1]. Looking around the room, I realised that the panel was actually balanced (inside econometric joke) when compared with the audience, which was about 90 per cent male.
I don’t think that the academic economics profession is quite as male-dominated as that. Some casual discussions suggested a couple of hypotheses:
(i) There were some parallel sessions on gender issues for which the audience was mostly female (not surprising, but kind of ambivalent)
(ii) Men were more likely to attend the sessions while female colleagues were more likely to be on the hiring teams. For those unfamiliar with this exercise, a large part of academic conferences consists of academics sitting in hotel rooms for days on end while a string of recent PhDs give a 15 minute pitch on a piece of research (their ‘job market paper’) followed by a ritual Q&A (a plausible but depressing story)
I get the impression that academic philosophy is even worse than economics, but that most other disciplines are better. Any thoughts?
[^1]: Maureen Cropper, who’s been doing great work in this field as long as I can remember