Engendering Economics: Conversations with Women Economists in the United States

Engendering Economics: Conversations with Women Economists in the United States

Engendering Economics: Conversations with Women Economists in the United States

Engendering Economics: Conversations with Women Economists in the United States

Synopsis

Between 1950 and 1975, the percentage of women receiving economic doctorates in the US sunk to an all time low of less than five per cent. This book consists of a series of interviews with the few who did attain this status during that period.

Excerpt

We have claimed the historical realities of our lives as the places from which our thought and politics not only do begin, but also should begin. It has also taken courage to claim these identities for such purposes when the fathers of our intellectual traditions have insisted for centuries that we are exactly not the kinds of persons whose beliefs can ever be expected to achieve the status of knowledge. They still claim that only the impersonal, disinterested, socially anonymous representatives of human reason - a description that refers to themselves, of course - are capable of producing knowledge. Mere opinion is all that folks like us can hope to produce. … So, it is an extraordinary achievement of feminist thought to have shown … that the unselfconscious perspective that claims universality is in fact not only partial but also distorting in ways that go beyond its partiality.

(Harding 1991:100-1)

In recent years, feminist economists have generated an impressive literature illuminating the various levels of exclusionary practices within the discipline of economics. At one level, feminist historians of economic thought have documented how the profession excluded women from the discipline of economics and, thereby, from the production of economic knowledge. At another level, they have examined the social construction of knowledge within the profession, and have discovered the multiple ways in which women's contributions to economics have been systematically ignored, misrepresented, and/or marginalized. In this process, they have also begun the formidable task of unearthing the rather extensive contributions of women economists during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries (Pujol 1992; Groenewegen 1994; Dimand et al. 1995; Albelda 1997). Together this research suggests that the invisibility of women's scholarly achievements stems more from systematic methods of burial than from their collective lack of scholastic ability or non-participation in the profession. At a third level, feminist theorists have exposed the androcentric bias inherent in economic theories, assumptions, discourse, methods, and methodologies. In addition, Eurocentricism (Grapard 1995) and

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