“Last year, six leading Washington think tanks presented more than 150 events on the Middle East that included not a single woman speaker.”
— The Washington Post, January 2015
Currently global education and study abroad programs in high school and college are saturated with women; The Institute of International Education (IIE)’s 2013 Open Doors study reported 65% female participation rates and, according to the Center on American Progress, women now earn upwards of 60% of masters degrees in U.S. universities.
However, only 11% of economics articles in legacy media were written, or co-written, by a woman, according to the Op-Ed Project’s 2012 data. The 2014 Women’s Media Center report found that men are quoted 3 times more often than women on the front page of the New York Times. As The Washington Post explains:
“Organizers of all-male events reply to challenges with one of two answers: ‘I didn’t even notice there weren’t any women!’ or ‘I couldn’t think of any women to invite.’… Women are systematically cited less than their male peers, for example. Even when women are active scholars, as they are in international relations and Middle East politics, such lack of professional recognition means they lose visibility. Less visibility means they are less likely to be considered by transition teams vetting government appointees, recruiters for executive jobs, media bookers or organizers trying to put together public programs…. The vast gap between the large number of senior women in our field and their notable absence from our public discourse means it’s time for active steps to fix the latter problem.”
It’s one thing to not choose women to speak on academic panels, but it’s quite another to have no women to choose from! What happens for young women in that span of 10 years, between graduating college and launching a career, between traveling the world for the first time and deciding to start their own family? What resources are our young women missing? What mentorship aren’t we providing if we are not seeing more females pursuing a career in foreign policy? Young women seem to be getting the degrees, but not finding opportunities to put them to use (or even worse, simply dropping out of the career choice entirely).