Sun04202014

Business

UTHSC professor takes on role to improve status of women in economics

Shelley White-Means, PhD has been appointed by the president of the American Economic Association to the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP).  Shelley White-Means, PhD, professor of Health Economics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been appointed by the president of the American Economic Association to the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP).  

 
 Shelley White-Means, PhD

Dr. White-Means will serve a three-year term on the 12-member national committee. CSWEP is comprised of women economists from across the United States working to address disparities in employment opportunities for female economists.

“CSWEP’s goal is to close the gaps in jobs held, salaries paid, promotions attained, so that equally qualified men and women have equal opportunities to serve the economics profession under equal payment systems,” said Dr. White-Means.

 Economics is still a profession with only a small percentage of the female faculty members in the high ranks. Fewer than 10 percent of these economics instructors are full professors.

“Many times, women faculty in economics, as well as other academic units, find themselves unintentionally excluded. Senior male faculty frequently bond with junior male faculty outside of work, resulting in more informal mentoring,” said White-Means.

“When this occurs, women faculty may find themselves lacking mentors and answers to crucial questions like: What do I need to do to attain successful promotion? How do I increase my publication of research papers? How do I obtain funding for my research?”

CSWEP offers regional and national mentoring workshops for women economists and publishes a newsletter with answers to many of their questions. The newsletter includes stories by women economists on how they have succeeded as economists and provides advice on navigating the job market, identifying harassment and discrimination, and knowing when to seek the advice of a lawyer.  

In addition to her role as professor at UTHSC, Dr. White-Means is director for the Consortium for Health Education, Economic Empowerment and Research (CHEER), the Exploratory Center of Excellence in Health Disparities at UTHSC. The collaborative program examines health disparities and brings local organizations together to build healthier lifestyles for persons of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

(For more details about CSWEP, visit http://www.aeaweb.org/committees/cswep/.)

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