A recent American Economic Association survey revealed that almost half of female economists have claimed to be the target of gender discrimination, with many also reporting assault and harassment. The survey was sent to more than 45,000 current and former AEA members.
48% of women reported discrimination based on sex and 22% reported bias for their marital status or caregiving responsibilities, according to a Bloomberg report. The survey included more than 9,000 current and former members of the AEA from November to February.
85 members reported assaults by other economists or students and 179 members reported attempted assaults. 405 had run-ins with "unwanted attention" from peers. The survey also documented racial discrimination, showing that 27% of black respondents claimed they were discriminated in promotion decisions and 23% claimed bias in teaching assignments. More than 33% of black respondents claimed they were discriminated against with regard to compensation.
The head of the AEA circus act, including President Ben Bernanke, flanked by intellectual heavyweights Janet Yellen and Olivier Blanchard wrote in a letter: “Many members of the profession have suffered harassment and discrimination during their careers, including both overt acts of abuse and more subtle forms of marginalization. This is unacceptable.”
They continued: “It’s important to weed out harassment and discrimination but it’s likewise essential to take action to widen the pipeline of women and minorities entering the field and to help those already in the field to advance professionally.”
The group plans on expanding on steps taken last year to combat harassment, including adopting a code of conduct and creating a discussion forum. The group will also approve a formal vetting process to ensure that executive committee members and others, such as journal editors, comply with the code of conduct.
At a meeting in January, Yellen said that the group needed to "think about" how professional sanctions could be placed on academics with a known history of past misconduct.
Maybe once they are done, they should publicly shame them by forcing them to admit that gold is money.