Gender Bias in Political Science

by Erik Voeten on August 31, 2013 · 4 comments

in Blogs

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

By many measures, women in political science do not achieve the same success as men. Their ranks among full professors are lower; their teaching evaluations by students are more critical; they hold less prestigious committee appointments; and, according to a new study, their work is cited less frequently.

Why? And what can be done to change this? Those questions absorbed two panels here at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting on Thursday. The problems are not new, and most likely not limited to political science. But the researchers who presented their findings hope that hard data and some serious self-reflection will spark change within the discipline.


Inside Higher Ed also has very good coverage of the same panels. Both articles contain links to the various papers on which the discussion was based, including this article forthcoming in International Organization (Cambridge has generously ungated it) by Daniel Maliniak, Ryan Powers, and Barbara Walter on the gender citation gap. 

{ 4 comments }

Sören Stapel August 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

One of our contributors also attended one of the two APSA panels and wrote up her thoughts on the papers and the discussion: http://irblog.eu/gender-gap-ir-political-science/

Nothing August 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

I certainly hope the IHE article misheard something here: “Walter, who has tenure and is a full professor, said she doesn’t cite herself in her work, so she understands the hesitancy of others to do so.”

Really?

http://bama.ua.edu/~sborrell/psc521/separatists.pdf
http://www.uky.edu/~clthyn2/PS439G/readings/walter_2004.pdf
http://faculty.washington.edu/swhiting/pols502/civil_war_annurev.polisci.pdf

Citing one’s self “hesitantly” is quite a bit different from not citing one’s self at all.

RobC August 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm

In the spirit of self-citation, allow me to cite my comments the last time the Maliniak, Powers and Walter article was discussed on The Monkey Cage. As the lawyers so poetically say, those comments are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

Jeff September 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

My ex-wife, who got her PhD at Georgetown University, told me that the first thing an academic does before reading a paper is to check if he/she is quoted by the author of the paper. After having witnessed her suffering in grad school and as an ABD at the hands of well -respected-in-the profession petty jerks with over-sized egos, I have no reason to doubt her story.

Of all the women who got their Phds around the same time she did, 6 years later not one was still in academia. She is no longer in academia. And yet, she was a gifted teacher who had a passion for her subject and won teaching awards year after year.

So, to the question of “Why? And what can be done to change this?” here is my quick, uneducated, out-of-the-ivory-tower answer: because academia is populated by tenured petty jerks with over sized egos who behave as untouchable monopoly power brokers. There is no reason for tenure in academia. We don’t have it in the private sector, why should professors have it? Break the tenure system, fire a few dinosaur power brokers to set the tone, and the situation is bound to improve.

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