2018 Diversity and Inclusion Hackathon Outcomes: Women, Notability, and Status in Political Science

About the Hackathon
The APSA Presidential Task Force on Women’s Advancement held a Diversity and Inclusion Hackathon at the 2018 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Boston, chaired by Mala Htun and Alvin B. Tillery, Jr.  At the hackathon, teams developed strategies to address key challenges facing the profession, build partnerships, and plans to move forward. This series of PSNow posts highlights those proposals and links to more resources for the profession.

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Findings and recommendations on Notability, Gender, and Status in Political Science! Recognizing the tension between “leaning in” and getting “scooped up” by excessive service, what can individuals and institutions do to promote recognition while balancing obligations? Team led by Jean Clipperton.

“We are trying to determine a more nuanced understanding of what decisions individuals should be making to become more visible in the discipline.”

Who decides notability for American political scientists?

Our project looked at a newly compiled dataset on tenure-line faculty at American Doctoral Research Institutions. We focused on different status categories (such as service in APSA/ISA sections, leadership in the profession and honor society membership and awards) and their relationship to gender.

Thus, we are trying to determine a more nuanced understanding of what decisions individuals should be making to become more visible in the discipline while achieving more equitable expectations for the gender breakdown of service positions. We follow this with recommendations (below) and additional analysis that supports the general findings in our paper (paper undertakes regression analysis while here we used machine learning techniques to support our findings).

In our working paper, we discovered a tension between the conventional wisdom of institutional best practices and individual best practices. The institutional practice we are familiar with advises women to “lean in.”  On the individual level, we discovered that women should not simply be “leaning in” because women who lean in frequently “over-serve” or serve at a rate higher than their peers. For example, see the figure below where women have fewer high-status positions than men AND Women do more lower-level service.


On the individual level

  • Faculty need to build their social networks and ask for invitations to speak, so that you become more familiar.  Building networks may be done through participation in sections, and invitations to join panels or you can yourself extend invitations to scholars you want to get to know (with a focus on gender and subject-matter diversity).
  • Given the gender disparities in citations, invited speakers, and appearances on syllabi, all faculty need to do more to promote gender and subject-matter recognition for women and underrepresented groups

On the institutional level

  • APSA should consider best practices for promoting content and subject matter diversity at the departmental, syllabi and university level
  • APSA might do more to promote the scholarship of women and minorities, especially by broadly featuring prize-winning work recognized within sections

Hackathon Team Members: Sarah Bouchat, Jean Clipperton, Kiela Crabtree, Laura Garcia Montoya, Sarah Moore, Emily Schraudenbach, Nicole Yadon