Female economists report discrimination, sexual assault in survey

Female economists report discrimination, sexual assault in survey

Nearly half of female economists surveyed in the U.S. said they have been discriminated against because of their sex, and some reported that colleagues have sexually assaulted them or attempted to do so, according to a new industry survey.

The American Economic Association (AEA) on Monday published the results of a survey that included more than 9,000 current and former members.


Forty-eight percent of female economists said they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly based on their sex, compared with only 3 percent of male respondents who said the same.

Two percent of female economists — 85 respondents — said another economist or economics student sexually assaulted them, and 6 percent, or 179 respondents, said a peer attempted to sexually assault them.

Twenty-two percent of female economists reported that an economics colleague or student made unwanted attempts to establish a romantic or sexual relationship.

The survey also found that 29 percent of nonwhite economists reported being discriminated against based on their racial or ethnic identity.

"Although a full analysis of the survey results remains to be done, it is evident from the findings released today that 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," former AEA President Olivier Blanchard, AEA President Ben Bernanke and AEA President-elect Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenPowell told Congress Fed is preparing for economic 'damage' from climate change Senate needs to stand up to Trump's Nixonian view of the Fed The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for Mueller report MORE said in a letter to members of the organization.

Bernanke and Yellen are past chairs of the Federal Reserve, and Blanchard is a former official at the International Monetary Fund. The three also announced that AEA is going to take new steps to combat discrimination, including approving a policy on harassment and discrimination and establishing an ombudsman.

The recent survey was conducted after a committee within the association recommended polling members about the professional climate.

"We recognize that these are only first steps in addressing some longstanding problems in the profession," Blanchard, Bernanke and Yellen said. "However, we are committed to helping make economics — which has given each of us tremendous professional opportunities and satisfaction — fully accessible and welcoming to anyone with the interest and ability to make a career in the field."