Around ninety students attended the fourth Women in Economics day at Caius, hosted by Caius Director of Studies in Economics Dr Victoria Bateman.
The group of 16-18 year olds were challenged to think about current economic challenges and the extent to which economic policy can address them, while discussing key issues facing women economists, who are in a minority within the field.
Among this year’s speakers was Hannah Peaker, Chief of Staff of the Women’s Equality Party, an organisation which is campaigning for equal representation in politics, business and throughout working life. Dazzling the audience by drawing on her vast political experience, which includes working on the Obama campaign in the US, Hannah explained how she got involved in the Women's Equality Party and how they are doing politics - and economics - differently. Addressing the attendees at the Women in Economics day Hannah said ‘There is a women-shaped hole in our economy – we need to fill that hole’.
Also speaking at the event was Laura van der Erve, a Research Economist at the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), and Melissa Davey, Director of Independent Evaluation at the Bank of England. They talked about what monetary and fiscal policy can - and cannot - do, and addressed questions from the audience about the financial crisis, potential conflicts between monetary and fiscal policy, the role of behavioural economics and what life is like working in the policy world. Dr Carolina Alves, a rising star in heterodox economics who recently wrote to the Financial Times to highlight gender bias in one of their journalist's summer reading lists, and Shyamoli Patel of Cambridge Econometrics, who uses data and statistical tools to help inform policymakers, also addressed the audience.
Ending the event was a panel of current Economic students who gave their own perspectives of studying Economics at University. Their advice to future applicants was to ‘do you’ by staying true to your passions, character and academic ability.
Dr Victoria Bateman closed the day by noting that "there has never been a more important time to be studying economics - or to be a woman doing so. At the moment, we face big economic challenges - inequality, stagnating wages, a slowdown in growth, deglobalisation, political disenchantment and Brexit...If things are to improve, it is vital that economics and policy draw on a diverse set of talent - and that includes women." She added that "now more than ever, we cannot take the future for granted - it is never set in stone; it is to be made by you. As the female economists of the future, you can make a real difference".
Created by Dr Victoria Bateman in 2015, this annual event gives sixth form girls the chance to hear from top female speakers working in the world of policy-making, as well as young female undergraduate students.