Dr Lisa Cook, Dr Cook Anna, Google discussed on The Indicator from Planet Money

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This message comes from. NPR sponsor. State farm. Why do you need state farm? Renter's insurance that's because it helps protected this stuff. Landlords don't like your furniture that gets drenched by a broken pipe state farm renter's insurance find agents or get a quote at State Eight Farm Dot com support also comes from Google from Connecticut to California from Mississippi Minnesota. Millions of American businesses are using Google Google tools to grow online learn more at Google dot com slash grow. Dr Lisa Cook got her PhD economics about three decades ago. And she's also one of the OPOKU mentors and lately. Dr Cook says she in Anna have spent a lot of time trying to answer a simple question. Why are black women and missing? There's something happening and there's something that is deterring black women in particular from pursuing this major and this field. This career here is an incredible data point from the American Economic Association by the most recent count. This was in the year twenty seventeen there were one thousand one. One hundred and fifty total economics awarded only seven of those went to black women and that number has barely budged in two decades now in our chats. Dr Cook Anna site a few reasons for this. The first is it. There is a pipeline problem for there'd be more black women as PhD's there. I need to be more black female undergraduates taking economics and preparing for a career in economics. And for that to happen there needs to be more black girls in middle school and in high school taking advanced math classes. And this is where the problem begins says Dr Cook. What we know is that black girls are being under recommended for AP AP Calculus and this is the gateway to doing economics as an undergraduate and certainly a gateway to doing it at the level Anna herself from members that this happened to her when she was in high school and then even after? She got the college when a lecturer question whether she'd be able to do the math required for an economics. I agree someone literally asked me. Are you sure you know about the mathematical rigor. It takes to become an economist. Me Not a whole math major. Yeah what's and this was before I even knew this person. This was a knew. Nothing about me. They just looked at me. They said I don't think you can do this. You should settle for a masters Dr Cook notes that this pipeline problem for black women has hardly made any progress lately and here. There is a distinction to be made with black men who were also heavily under-represented in economics. I mean what we know. Is that between two thousand six and and two thousand fifteen. The number of undergraduates who were majoring in economics who were black men increased by forty four percent. What we know uh-huh about black women is that that number increased over the same period by one percent and that's that's just Jari it's like you know? Did aliens come and still still all these black women who would have majored in economics. Otherwise another reason for the shortage of black women in economics is what they experienced once they do enter for the profession. Dr Cook was on the Committee. At the American Economic Association that recently survey the professional climate within the economics profession and it included long long passages on the experiences of black women they are particularly subject to discrimination for promotion and pay and we see this in the research not just in the a study but also in the research we see that Black women are not retained like their other appears if they get an outside offer for example at a university. They're more likely to be let go. The survey found that sixty two percent of black women had had experienced racial or gender discrimination or both by the way these numbers were high for all women but black women had the highest followed closely by Latina economists. Who who also face similarly high barriers within economics? The survey also found that black women most often reported having to take specific actions to avoid discrimination in or harassment for example by choosing not to attend a particular graduate school or not attending a conference even changing what they teach in class as a someone who wants to get a PhD in economics and a further highlights the survey's finding the published economics papers of black women and of other underrepresented. Groups are are not often cited by other scholars the currency in academia and arguably even in policy and sort of economics research in a broad broad sense is research like if you can't get published or if people don't cite your work or people are acknowledging the contributions that you are making into the field you can be effectively shut out beyond the straightforward injustice of what black women in economics have to face and Dr Cook. Say say there are other reasons why they're small numbers matter for one thing they're under representation can potentially influence policy take the Federal Reserve Board. The Fed that employs four hundred and six economists on its staff. Only one is a black woman and of the seventy-nine economists at the Fed who were officers and have positions of leadership leadership. Not a single one is a black woman. That's alarming because that means that policies are being made monetary policy that affects. Everybody anybody Those policies are being made without a significant input and often Black women and Minority Artis groups are the canaries in the coal mine for For An economy here is one example of what Dr Cook is talking about before the last big recession the one that started about a dozen years ago the unemployment rate for black and Hispanic Americans started rising earlier in more steeply than the unemployment rate for White Americans and also the problems in the housing market. Were disproportionately concentrated in black and Hispanic households. And the Fed. And other policymakers might have recognized these trends ends earlier might have understood that there were signs of what was to come for the rest of the economy if it had more diverse people working for it highlighting them people from those communities cities where the problem started Anna words that a similar dynamic would also apply to the kind of research that economists do within academia and so I think the economics research that would result from a profession that represented the world would be just that research that represents the world that addresses the concerns earns and the issues that people within the world face to help make that happen and has co founded the sadie collective which is named after the first black economics. Phd Sadie Alexander and the group brings together black women at different stages of their careers in economics and for her part. Dr Cook says that those terrible findings from the survey have actually made her more determined to find a solution. I was in a bit of shock. Just weeding some of the The responses and that deepened my resolve to say to people like Anna. Don't leave don't leave. I'm still here. There are many of us still here and people are asking how we we can change doctor cooking and teamed up to read a New York Times. op-ed on this topic a couple of months ago and we'll have a link to it. NPR Dot org slash money we will also linked to the AA professional climate survey into the research of other communists like the near Francis in Rhonda sharp that was cited in our chats with Dr Coast and with Anna special thanks thanks to cloudy Assam. The director of macroeconomic research at equitable growth for sending us the numbers about the Fed. This episode was produced by Lena. Sons Gary fact check by Jared Marcel South and our editor is Patty Hirsch. The indicator is a production of N._P._R...

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