A Women in Economics Problem (and Answer)

Our country has a women in economics problem. Harvard professor of economics Claudia Goldin studied gender and the choice of majors at a selective university (on par with Harvard, she says). Between 2005 and 2013, there were twice as many males majoring in economics. She uncovered that women ditched the major when they did not get A’s in the introductory course at a much higher rate than men. Women who got B’s left the major at 2x’s the rate of guys with B’s. Females who earned a C jumped ship at 4x’s the rate of the males who earned C’s. When women got A’s, they majored in econ at a higher rate than the males. Women are more sensitive to any negative feedback, a sign that they may feel they do not belong. This sinks with a trend of women worrying so much about grades, it harms them in the work world (“Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to them at the Office” –NYT, Feb. 2019)

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Stanford University Graduate School of Business has a compelling new program to counter this issue. Launched in 2014, the Stanford GSB Graduate Fellows is a unique 2-year program focused on improving the pipeline into business fields. Program Fellows — many of them women and underrepresented minorities — train in complex data analysis, take PhD-level courses to deepen their preparation and round out their transcripts, and receive faculty mentoring. They then apply to PhD level programs in business fields.

When the program began, there were three students in the first cohort. That number is expected to exceed nine this summer. Three recent graduates are all headed to prestigious economics PhD programs—Helena Pedrotti to NYU, Sylvia Klosin to UC Berkeley, and Sara Johns.Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 1.54.26 PM.png