Study Examines The Low Percentage of Women in the Academic Discipline of Finance

Dr. Renee Adams

New research by Renee B. Adams of the University of Oxford and Jing Xu of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, finds that women are vastly underrepresented in the field of finance. But those women who do progress to the top of the profession are more successful than their male counterparts.

The study finds that finance ranks 132nd out of 175 fields with a representation of only 10.3 percent of its thought leaders are women. Women are a higher percentage of thought leaders in economics and most STEM fields. Thought leaders are defined as academics who have been ranked among the top 2 percent in their respective fields by citations. The study also notes that all but six of the CEOs at the 107 largest U.S. public financial institutions are men.

Dr. Jing Xu

The authors state that “the fact that finance is less gender-diverse than other math-intensive fields suggests standard arguments about women’s preferences with respect to STEM subjects cannot explain their low representation in finance. Instead, we argue the culture of academic finance is less welcoming to women than it is to men.”

However, the authors note that the women who overcome these barriers outperform their male peers. “Individual female thought leaders in finance have more impact than their male peers, as measured by citations per paper, their academic rank, and a composite score of six citation metrics.”

The authors conclude: “To overcome the inequality of finance, the culture of finance academia must change. But culture cannot change on demand. The leadership of academic finance associations and our universities should provide opportunities for introspection, reflection, and discussion of these issues. We should start by discussing why academia seems to be focused primarily on producing more science, rather than better science. Universities, academic associations, and journals should increase the transparency of their operations. The process through which positions of power are filled, like those of university deans and journal editors, should be transparent. Only when the rules of the game are clear can there be a hope of changing the rules to level the playing field.”

Dr. Adams holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. Jing Xu holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of New South Wales.

Filed Under: Research/Study

RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply