#WomenAlsoKnowStuff: Editorial Board Member, Emily Beaulieu, Talks Importance of Sharing Women Experts

Women Also Know Stuff is an online database dedicated to promoting the work of women political scientists. Created and maintained by political scientists, the database includes female experts in a range of fields such as Human Rights, Political Communication, Military Prevention, NGOs, Energy & Climate Policy, Class, Inequality and Labor Politics, and more.

Recently, we spoke with Emily Beaulieu, a member of the editorial board for Women Also Know Stuff. Emily is also an Associate professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Kentucky, and is the current President of the MPSA Women’s Caucus.

See what Emily has to say about the impact of women in politics and the future of Women Also Know Stuff:

Dana Rogers Photography 2013 of UK College of Arts & Sciences Hive Media Team
“The more we work to increase our visibility now, the more we normalize women’s expertise in the future.” – Emily Beaulieu

In addition to joining your list, what else do you recommend women political scientists do to share their expertise with broader audiences?

Beaulieu: I would recommend that women find ways to let people know what they’re working on. In general, women are not thought to be as active in self-promotion as men, and this is something I would encourage women to work consciously to change.  Send your working papers to colleagues for feedback, notify colleagues when your published works come out, notify your colleagues when you get grants, notify granting agencies when their funding results in publications, offer to write a post for a PS blog like the Monkey Cage etc., Nominate yourself for awards, and when you win awards be sure to tell people! But, I think there is a corollary this question, which is: what should the people who control access to broader audiences be doing to share women’s expertise more?  And there the answer is: visit our website!  Obviously, this is only going to be helpful to people who want to do more to share women’s expertise with broader audiences, but we think it’s actually a very effective tool for those purposes.

What can women political scientists do to foster the next generation of women experts?

Beaulieu: The more we work to increase our visibility now, the more we normalize women’s expertise in the future.  But I also think that we have opportunities not just to show people that women can be experts like men, but that women are their own kind of experts.  By diversifying what we come to understand as an expert, we open up possibilities for people who might not understand themselves as experts in a more narrow, masculine sense, to see ways they could contribute to our collective expertise.

What future plans do you have for the website?

Beaulieu: What other plans are there, except BIG plans?  We are in the process of launching an updated website, and we are also applying for funding and planning activities that will expand and extend the site’s impact.  In particular, we are working hard to ensure that the site is inclusive in its representation of women political scientists—with particular effort to represent women of color—and also to maximize the functionality and usefulness of the site.  We want this to be a comprehensive database of experts that keeps people coming back for more.

Your site has been profiled in several media reports. Tell us more about that.

Beaulieu: To date, our website has been featured on: The Monkey Cage, NYT Women in the World, Vox,  Hearst Empowering Women, Daily Life (Australia), Fishbowl DC, Bloomberg View, BizWomen, Gender Avenger, The Capital Times, and also received mention on NPR!  Some of this coverage came about because we sought it out, some was completely unsolicited.  All has been very much appreciated because it helps us spread the word about our site.  Currently, we are working on pieces for The Conversation and The Huffington Post, and we recently passed 1,000 followers on Twitter.

[See more news coverage on Women Also Know Stuff.]

 Tell us more about your background and work in political science.

Beaulieu: I grew up on the West Coast, but have been in Kentucky for about ten years now—where I am an Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Kentucky.  It took me nine years to get tenure because I had two kids and a prolonged illness while on the tenure clock.  Most of my published work to date has focused on “unconventional” electoral practices like protest and fraud.  My book with Cambridge University Press studies electoral protests in the developing world, while my more recent articles have looked at perceptions of election fraud in the U.S.   My current research interests revolve around questions of political violence and political participation, and by the time my next book project is done I will probably have to concede to being an expert in Caribbean politics.

Look for more profiles from Women Also Know Stuff editorial board members in the coming weeks.