University of Michigan Prof Argues ‘Male-Dominated’ Textbooks Drive Women from Economics

David Jones/PA Wire URN:21969286/AP
File Photo: David Jones/PA Wire URN:21969286/AP

A University of Michigan professor argued recently that the lack of women in textbooks has deterred women from the economics field.

University of Michigan Associate Economics Professor Betsey Stevenson argued in a recent academic paper that women are deterred from entering the economics field because of the lack of female representation in undergraduate textbooks. Stevenson is referring to the lack of representation with regards to both the real-life economists cited in such textbooks as well as the imaginary characters conjured up by book authors to explain concepts.

“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,” Stevenson writes, before adding that “one part of the answer may be that women do not see themselves, their interests, and their lives described in economics textbooks.”

According to a report from Campus Reform, Stevenson added that the lack of women represented in economics textbooks is only one of a myriad of reasons why there are fewer women than men in the economics field.

“Additionally, one might argue that all types of students should be able to see themselves and their lives reflected in the examples and discussions they see when they study economics,” Stevenson wrote. “Therefore, one could argue that textbooks not only should be representative of the actual world, but reflect the diversity of the student body we would ideally like to attract.”

In September, Mark. J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute wrote about the growing female-dominance in academia. As of 2018, women are the majority of medical school students, law school students, as well as candidates for bachelors and doctorate degrees.

If America’s diversity worshipers see any female under-representation as a problem and possibly even as proof of gender discrimination, what do they propose should be done about female over-representation in higher education at every level and in 7 out of 11 graduate fields? After all, to be logically consistent, aren’t female over-representation and female under-representation simply different sides of gender injustice?