Women in Economics Spotlight

The U.W. Women in Economics (WiE) group was established to address topics of interest to women studying or working in economics-related fields, to serve the increasing number of women studying economics, and encourage the continued growth in diversity within the field of economics. In the 2020-2021 school year, women earned nearly half of the bachelor’s degrees awarded by the U.W. Department of Economics, steadily increasing over the last two years. Through WiE activities and events, we hope to encourage women pursuing a career in economics, both while at the U.W. and beyond.

Events in recent years have included panels on a variety of topics of interest especially to students. These have included discussions about graduate-school options for economics majors, how to prepare for the job market and internships, and hearing from the work experiences of recent graduates. These panels have provided a helpful venue for students to ask questions and make smart decisions as they progress in their academic and career paths.

In 2018, with the help of Assistant Professor Rachel Heath, WiE secured a Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grant to update the wall of economists’ portraits on the third floor of Savery Hall. As part of the project organized by WiE, dozens of students composed and submitted biographies representing a diverse range of economists. Using this student work and portraits of the selected economists, the WiE board updated the wall of economists, providing a current perspective on “what an economist looks like,” and hopefully providing inspiration to the next generation of economists as the field becomes more diverse and inclusive. The WiE board intends to update this display over time with continued student input.

Pre-pandemic, WiE also organized a series of Workplace Visits which enabled students to visit economists in the field and hear more about a variety of economics-related career paths. These included visits to Zillow, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley, and Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers. In addition, we have hosted keynote speakers from, for example, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Vulcan Real Estate. Through networking events, we have brought together students and alumni in order to build a stronger community and to provide opportunities for growth among women in economics.

Moving forward, we hope to build relationships with similar programs at other schools, and to collaborate on future events with other schools and groups on campus, including the EUB and Economics Mentorship program. 

The WiE board currently includes several student members, along with alumnae, faculty and staff advisors. Together, we have been working to develop student leadership, focusing on student-driven ideas, events, and activities.

U.W. WiE also maintains a social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram (see https://econ.washington.edu/uw-women-economics). Watch for announcements of upcoming events and please contact us via social media or email (ctapia@uw.edu) if you have a suggestion, or if you would like to become involved. We look forward to ramping up our planning and activities to address the interest and enthusiasm that we have encountered in our community.