Maternity and Academic Careers
See me talk about our maternity research: [Q1] [Q2] [Q3]
and the CAGE policy report: [Q1] [Q2] [Q3]
Introducing CAGE's theme 4 at the CAGE policy day 2019
I am Professor of Comparative Political Science at the University of Hamburg and Professor of Quantitative Political Economy in the department of economics at Warwick University, as well as CI of the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE). Between 2007 and 2011 I was Director of the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis. I previously held positions at the University of Essex, the Max Planck Institute of Economics, and the University of Exeter. Currently I serve as president of the European Political Science Association as well as on its diversity committee. I am the founding editor-in-chief of the flagship journal of the EPSA – Political Science Research and Methods, and served as associate editor for one of the most highly ranked journals in political science – Political Analysis. I also serve on the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, the European Journal of Political Research and the Journal of European Public Policy. In addition, I was an executive council member of the Midwest Political Science Association and currently the European Political Science Association. My research interests lie at the intersection between comparative political economy, labour economics, public policy, as well as applied quantitative data analysis and political methodology. In particular, I currently study the impact of parental leave policies on productivity, career development, and the gender pay gap. I have also done research on economic policy diffusion and spill-overs of monetary and tax policies. In addition, I contribute to the field of quantitative political methodology, especially pooled cross-section time series analysis, the trade-off between bias and efficiency in finite sample econometrics and endogeneity issues. I have published papers on occupational maternity benefits and academic career paths, external effects of currency unions, monetary policy autonomy, international tax competition, various aspects of fixed effects models, electoral budget cycles, war and stock market reactions in the American Journal of Political Science, the European Journal for Political Research, the British Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, European Union Politics, Political Analysis, Plos One, the Swiss Political Science Review, and the Journal of Public Policy.
For some time now I have been engaged in research on gender issues as well as supporting women in academia. My current research is focused on the maternity benefits and academic career paths of mothers (check out the project's webpage here). I led the department of economics' Athena Swan (The Athena Swan is a national governmental initiative to increase gender balance in academia) committee, and the Economics department recently submitted an application for the national Athena Swan Bronze award. This proposal included a large list of action points to increase gender balance that I was in charge of implementing within the department. I am a member of the EPSA's diversity committee and in this capacity organized women's events such as a mentoring breakfast for women and a career development round table at the 2019 annual conference. I am also member of the steering committee of the group "women in political economics" that organizes annual workshops for female political economists. As the editor-in-chief of Political Science Research and Methods I made sure that female authors were not affected by potential biases and discrimination.
The issue of gender discrimination, not just in academia, has been close to my heart for a long time. When I started out as a young academic, I believed that we do not need a feminist movement any more, that just working as hard as my male colleagues would be enough to achieve my goals. These days I am convinced that I was wrong. We need feminism and feminists more than ever, not burning our bras but fighting for a world in which women can achieve their career goals without playing by the rules that middle-aged white men set a few decades ago, by behaving like men, or sacrificing family life. I personally experienced explicit discrimination when I became a mother. Later as a senior academic, mentoring female PhD students and young female faculty, I observed gender bias and discrimination, and even sexual harassment through their eyes. The things I experienced and observed personally and the stories I have heard, I do not dare to repeat here. Equally bad are the backlashes women in academia experience because of half-baked measures implemented to increase the share of female professors. Young women are told by their male peers that they wouldn't have to worry about getting jobs because of the apparent positive discrimination that is going on. Well, if that was the case we would not only be 20 percent of academics. How often did I sit on hiring committees just to hear from my male colleagues "we need to hire a woman even though she is not as qualified as the man..." - and what criteria are we using to measure academic qualification? Criteria set by the same men.
There is much to do. And I find myself more often than not in a dilemma. The bias is systemic and that is why we need to change the system, the criteria of judging the quality of an academic, how we hire colleagues. Yet, we also need to mentor our young female colleagues and give them practical advise on how to pursue a career and be successful in a men's world.
This is why I founded AcaFemia to address these dimensions of academic life. I hope you will join me in this endeavor.