“Strategies for Improving Gender Diversity in the Methods Community: Insights from Political Methodologists and Social Science Research”
by: Tiffany D. Barnes, University of Kentucky
Despite the increasing numbers of women earning PhDs in political science and statistics, women are less likely than men to identify as political methodologists. Barnes identifies challenges associated with and strategies for improving gender diversity in the political methods subfield. The gender gap is attributed to factors ranging from lower rates of recruitment and retention of female students and lower levels of confidence in their ability to succeed in the field to too few women role models and limited access to important networks. To address these challenges, it is important to actively recruit women as undergraduates and early during graduate school. Scholars can present students with assignments and research opportunities that are designed to cultivate interest in methods, to build confidence in their ability to solve methods problems, and to help them foster their methods skills. To retain women in the field, introduce them to influential networks, encourage them to attend methods conferences, connect them with senior and junior scholars, and help them to identify mentors. To offset the small number of female role models, better incorporate women who are in the subfield—e.g., include them as teaching assistants, invited lectures, guest speakers, on methods panels, and on your syllabi.