Political Science Is Rife With Gender Bias
September 6, 2013 7:25 AM   Subscribe

By many measures, women in political science do not achieve the same success as men. Their ranks among full professors are lower; their teaching evaluations by students are more critical; they hold less prestigious committee appointments; and, according to a new study, their work is cited less frequently. Why?

In their review of more than 3,000 journal articles published from 1980 to 2006, articles by men received an average of 4.8 more citations than were articles by women. (The average number of citations per article over all was 25.)

The authors came up with two explanations: Women tend to cite their own work less than men do, which can have a multiplying effect as time goes by. And men, who dominate the profession, tend to cite other men more than they cite women.

Another paper found that women in the discipline are asked more often than men are to take on committee assignments, but their service appointments are generally of lower stature.

These questions were discussed in the recent American Political Science Association conference in Chicago this past weekend.
posted by MisantropicPainforest (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been waiting until today to post this week's series from the New York Times on women in Philosophy. But perhaps it would be better to add it here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:38 AM on September 6, 2013


Sexism, that's why.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:05 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


That doesn't actually go far very in explaining anything, however
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2013


I'd be interested to see some citation stats for articles where given names are presented in full versus initialised. Kind of baffled why they wouldn't have done this version without correcting for self-citing.

Regarding the point made about how female academics approval dropped with class size I wonder if you could do some qualitative work with classes to see whether expectations change over modules and how this is impacted by staff gender.
posted by biffa at 9:18 AM on September 6, 2013


I'd be interested to see some citation stats for articles where given names are presented in full versus initialised.

I don't know any IR journals that do this.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:53 AM on September 6, 2013


I'd be interested to see some citation stats for articles where given names are presented in full versus initialised

If your idea there is that people don't know who women are, that's generally not the case. Specific subfields in political science (ie state legislatures, or direct democracy, or voter turnout; I don't know the specific subfields in IR) tend to be small enough that everyone is at least acquainted with everyone else who regularly works in them, except for new people of course. The people most likely to cite Simmons are also very likely to know that she's Beth.

I don't know any IR journals that do this.

You're thinking "Journals that only publish IR." If you think of it as "Journals that publish IR," then APSR and AJPS do that. So does JOP to the limited extent that they publish IR, and IIRC so does SSQ though that's not influential enough to be in their sample.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:20 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you think of it as "Journals that publish IR," then APSR and AJPS do that.

They do? I'm looking at the latest copy of the APSR right now. Full names abound.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:02 AM on September 6, 2013


ROU: that was the line I was thinking of. It would also be interesting to do work where someone followed up and talked to authors to see who they did know but that would take more effort. I would expect some academics to know other academics (and their gender) but not all the people that they are citing. I'd be interested to know where this manifests, I would like to assume it is mostly unconscious, but even if that is the case then where does the bias come into the process.
posted by biffa at 11:16 AM on September 6, 2013


They do? I'm looking at the latest copy of the APSR right now.

Oh, I thought you meant t'other way, that IR-only journals used initials.

As you might guess, I haven't cracked an IR journal since about 1995.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:32 AM on September 6, 2013


Kind of baffled why they wouldn't have done this version without correcting for self-citing.
Presumably because if they had, they wouldn't have been able to measure the impact of self-citing on total citations. And, since many of the impact assessmentts that people care about (eg. the h-index) don't remove self-citation, including the effect of self-citation could be quite important in career trajectories. At least, that could be true in fields with few citations and small collaborations.
posted by eotvos at 12:08 PM on September 6, 2013


"Hmmmm.... this supports my contention and helps flesh out what I trying to express but it's written by a woman so fuck that," said no 21st century academic ever.
posted by codswallop at 4:07 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hmmmm.... it's not humanly possible to read all the literature in my sub-discipline. Who's work is likely to be relevant to this particular argument? I'll do some quick searches and look for things that catch my eye. Oh yeah, I saw an invited talk last summer by that guy. . .," said most academics within the last month.

I haven't seen the data, but I suspect that by the time someone is deciding whether or not to cite individual articles they've read, it's too late. Doesn't mean it's not a problem.
posted by eotvos at 4:25 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thrilled to see my friend's publication Inside Higher Ed on the blue!
posted by Ironmouth at 7:53 AM on September 7, 2013


"Hmmmm.... this supports my contention and helps flesh out what I trying to express but it's written by a woman so fuck that," said no 21st century academic ever

Do you have anything to contribute to the discussion?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:43 AM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmmmm.... it's not humanly possible to read all the literature in my sub-discipline

This isn't really the case in political science. Or at least, we have few top-level journals and they're almost all quarterlies, so it's entirely possible to read all the likely-to-be-important pieces related to your research streams.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:00 PM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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