Tracking gender imbalances – the Women in Economics Index

We founded the Women in Economics (WiE) Initiative with the aim to facilitate dialogue around the status of women in economics. Through discussion, we seek ways to foster a more diverse and inclusive economics profession.

The newly developed WiE Index is one of our key tools we use to raise awareness about gender imbalances persisting in the profession. By using the WiE index as our starting point, we want to encourage constructive, evidence-based discussions using data rather than gut feelings and anecdotes. 

We develop the WiE Index as a complement to prominent indexes that maintain a broad focus on gender inequality, such as the Gender Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, the Women’s Workplace Equality Index, the Global Gender Gap Index and the Women’s Economic Opportunity Index. Through the provision of yearly updates on the representation of women in top positions within the field of economics, the WiE index sheds light into the persistence of glass ceilings/glass cliffs across three fields of interest: academia, private (industry) and public sector. In doing so, our index can be used to observe the aggregate effect of policy choices and sector-specific initiatives on women representation in top positions.

The soon to be released first edition of our analysis looks at the share of women economists in senior roles in academia, the private and public sectors in varying levels of aggregation across the OECD, the Eurozone and Germany. Sub-analyses and country case studies will change with every edition of the index to deliver a more complete picture. The three sector pillars constitute the foundation of the analysis of trends in gender imbalances. Aggregating individual sector figures into indices allows us to track developments over time through each edition of the index.

In advance of the WiE Index 2019 Report, which we expect to become public by the end of 2019, we would like to offer a first glimpse. Our analysis shows that:

  • just over 12% of full professors in the 10 top-ranked economics departments[1] are women, a finding similar to that of the Women in European Economics monitoring tool.
  • no women occupy the position of central bank governor across OECD countries as of early 2019 – globally there are 13 women in the position of central bank governor.

Together with the official release of the WiE Index 2019, we will provide a methodology report detailing the structure and approach we followed for the development of the index. The WiE index will be an ongoing project of the WiE Initiative, providing regular updates and case study analyses. We will be sharing more insights and information on the index during our upcoming events in Berlin and Cologne, for which we will also be posting relevant material on the WiE website. For inquiries relating to the index, we encourage you to contact us via

[1] Global comparison of universities, based on the QS World Ranking Survey. 

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