Katy Beth Boyers / Arts and Life Editor
After attending a Women’s Economics conference earlier in the year, economics majors Kelly Raggett and Abby Robertson established Finance and Economics for Women organization on campus. This organization holds discussions that focus on the lack of women in the economics and finance fields.
FEW creates an “avenue of mentorship,” according to Raggett. The organization’s purpose is to gather women in the finance and economics majors to discuss, educate and network.
“The purpose of this organization shall be to inform college students, especially women, about careers in finance and economics, as it has been shown to increase the number of women who continue into higher finance and economics classes,” states the organization’s constitution.
While it is a new organization, there are around 40-55 members in FEW. This organization is open to all, but the main focus of discussion is women in finance, which is a male-dominated field. The events FEW holds once a month are panel discussions, “lunch and learns” and a dinner at the end of the semester.
This organization began after Raggett and Robertson attended Women in Economics Symposium at St. Louis Federal Reserve and were inspired to create an organization on campus for women in economics and finance.
“We were inspired by the symposium to inspire others on campus and to then be inspired by Birmingham people and to keep the awareness and conversation going about this industry that women aren’t normally in,” Ragget said.
This organization is the first of its kind, and it has inspired other universities to create their own FEW organization.
“Recently, a university in California created a chapter of F.E.W. after consulting with the ladies who started the Samford chapter. The group notes that other Birmingham college students have also reached out to learn more about how they can start their own F.E.W. organization,” an article by Samford University states.
FEW brings up the issue of the lack of women in finance and economics. A report from the American Economics Association states that in the past year, the amount of women in economics is still very low. The percentage of women graduating with an undergraduate degree in economics is 35.4% according to the report.
“There has been no progress in the representation of women either entering the economics profession or advancing from untenured assistant to tenured associate professor,” the report concludes.
In economics, women and other minorities don’t dominate the field compared to other fields. According to the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the lack of women and other minorities in economics starts at the undergraduate level.
“The relative absence of women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups in economics begins at the undergraduate level and then continues through doctoral education and beyond,” the journal states.
Through education, discussion and networking, FEW encourages women to pursue these fields of study that lack women and other minorities.
“We exist to encourage diversity by showing young women it is possible to pursue a technological field and to be bold in their choice of career path,” their constitution states.