UNL Professor Examines Gender Bias in Economics in New Book

July 21, 2022, 5 p.m. ·

Prof. Ann Mari May UNL Photo
UNL's Prof. Ann Mari May is a professor of economics. She also has affiliate status in women's and gender studies, as well as history and agricultural economics. Photo courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

UNL professor of economics Ann Mari May recently published her book “Gender and the Dismal Science: Women in the Early Years of the Economics Profession.”

May has been a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 35 years. Her newest book is an account of women’s role during the formative years of economics, especially in the area of academic study.

“My approach is to blend historical detail with first hand accounts and empirical data to understand the institutional factors that excluded women from graduate education to academic publishing,” she said.

May writes about a number of ways that women were turned away from the field of economics, from bias in research publishing to workplace harassment. She said economists who applaud the free market do not provide similar freedoms in the workplace.

“The degree to which economists have been wedded to the free market, and yet in their own work environment they were part of this system, and went right along with it, that stopped women from being employed in their particular field. The fact they did not see this as ironic is nothing short of truly stunning,” she said.

May said that sexist practices are now finally being addressed, but are still a long way from being resolved.

“It’s going to take a great deal of effort to change the culture. A lot of these decisions that take place, take place by people who cannot imagine that they are biased in any way shape or form,” she said.

Professor May will be holding a book signing at the SouthPointe Barnes and Noble on Saturday at 2 p.m.