WGSS executive committee member, Professor Alicia Sasser Modestino, presented her research at the European Central Bank conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The idea that hostility and discrimination await women daring to encroach upon the male-dominated world of economics and central banking was the primary focus of the ECB conference. Research has shown that though Christine Lagarde becoming the ECB’s first-ever female president is celebrated, it is very atypical for her gender. When Lagarde starts on Nov. 1, she’ll be the only woman on the 25-seat Governing Council. Supporting this assessment, Professor Modestino presented a study revolving around coded interactions between speakers and their audiences at several hundred economics seminars. It showed that female speakers have a greater share of their seminar time taken up by audience members, and are more likely to be asked hostile questions. “Economics has a distinctively aggressive seminar culture,” said Modestino. “This paper is the first systematic attempt at quantitatively measuring whether the seminar culture leads to disparate treatment.” A report by the Bank of Spain found that submissions of papers with all-female authors to economic conferences are 3.2% less likely to be accepted when compared to all-male authored papers. This gap is entirely driven by male referees favoring papers written by men. Female referees evaluated male and female-authored papers similarly. The ECB is making an effort to redress its gender imbalance with quota targets for managerial positions. To read more about Professor Modestino’s presentation, click here!