Professor: Women Stay Away from Economics Because Textbooks "Male Dominated"

"Concrete steps need to be taken to understand why economics is not attracting female students.”

Two women at the University of Michigan are very concerned about sexist textbooks keeping women from following their dreams of becoming economists. Campus Reform reports that Associate Economics professor Betsey Stevenson and Master of Public Policy Candidate Hanna Zlotnick reviewed the depictions of women in eight leading economics textbooks for some reason, and determined that 77 person of the people represented therein are male. That is almost certainly because, in the past, women actually weren't welcome to study as they chose so, throughout history, most economists were men. Should this be ignored for the sake of a more balanced textbook? Stevenson and Zlotnick also felt that, when men were depicted, they were "making a decision," but women were depicted as having "a decision made for them." When talking about economists themselves, men outnumbered women by 12 to 1. Stevenson and Zlotnick suspect foul play:

“This fact both makes it likely that economics textbooks are male-dominated and suggests that concrete steps need to be taken to understand why economics is not attracting female students,” they write, adding that “one part of the answer may be that women do not see themselves, their interests, and their lives described in economics textbooks.”

They believe that the textbooks should "reflect the diversity of the student body we would ideally like to attract" and that "concrete steps need to be taken to understand why economics is not attracting female students." What Stevenson and Zlotnick aren't considering is that the textbooks might be reflecting those who are interested in economics and that field isn't attracting female students simply because they are less likely to be attracted to it. 

Dr. Lee Jussim has told Campus Reform that women typically prefer working with people while men typically prefer working with objects and numbers, and this leads to some demographic differences in fields of study and careers. “There’s a knee-jerk assumption that gaps—demographic gaps—reflect discrimination,” he said, blaming a political agenda:

"There are many papers claiming to find evidence for discrimination [in STEM fields], but when you look at the data, there's no evidence for it,” he explained, adding that “advocacy [of a] political agenda can distort the science.”

Jussim said that the goal should be for people to enter the field they want to be in, not manufactured equality and miserable people. “People should choose the [career] fields they want to be in. Everything does not have to be perfectly equal all the time.”

It seems obvious that pushing women into careers they don't want to be in is the exact opposite of feminism, yet it is being done in that name. Women have the choice to study whatever they'd like - let's let them exercise that choice without saying it wasn't really their choice, it was really sexism. Where's the empowerment in that? Anyway, weren't Stephenson and Zlotnick concerned with depictions of women having decisions made for them? 

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