Leading women economists mentor the next generation in Barcelona

Group photo on the sidewalk with sunlight streaming through the trees

Photo credit: Libertad González

The session on “Women in Economics: Challenges and Opportunities” aligns with BSE's long-term strategy to promote gender equality in research.

This spring, the Barcelona School of Economics (BSE) hosted the event, “Women in Economics: Challenges and Opportunities” aimed at talented female students from high schools and universities in the Barcelona area. 

Through a panel discussion and smaller mentoring sessions, the goal of the event was to introduce the young women to career options available to them in Economics, as well as the challenges they could face as researchers in a predominantly male field.

While the event did feature primarily women in Economics, students of all genders were invited to attend.

The voices of experience

The day began with a panel discussion by female economists from two BSE academic units — the Center for Research in International Economics (CREI) and the Department of Economics and Business at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) — and two visiting researchers from academic institutions in the United States and the Netherlands:

The four panelists shared their fascination with Economics and why they decided to pursue the paths that they did. They are all at different stages of their research careers and have interests spanning several fields of Economics, so the students got to hear four unique perspectives.

Towards the end of the presentations, the students were invited to ask the panelists questions to guide them as they consider their career options. 

Discovering career paths in Economics

Libertád Gonzalez noticed the appreciation and necessity for events like this one. Due to the vastness of the field of Economics, the panelists were able to impart knowledge on different avenues the young women could pursue. 

“They had little idea of the kinds of jobs that would be available to them after studying Economics,” González said. “I think they liked learning about the details of a career in research.”

The participants included high school students, undergraduates, and one Master’s student. González mentioned that despite the variety of ages represented, the students interacted well with each other. 

“I think the younger ones benefited from talking to the others, in addition to the mentors, of course,” González said. 

The day wrapped up with breakout rooms consisting of a small group of students and a mentor. In these sessions, the young women were able to talk openly about issues that they had personally experienced as well as possible concerns in the future. 

In turn, the mentors spoke to the students on a more individual level, asking about their career goals and imparting advice as they pursue or decide to pursue Economics.

Overall, the event created a space for dialogue between talented students and women in Economics. Not only did it foster the career development of the young women, it also gave them a personal connection to women who are already finding success on this career path. 

Download the workshop program

“Women in Economics: Challenges and Opportunities” is supported by the Severo Ochoa Research Excellence Program (CEX2019-000915-S) through Spain's State Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación - AEI).

BSE commitment to gender equality

Earlier this year, the Barcelona School of Economics published its first Gender Plan to formalize BSE’s pursuit of a long-term strategy to promote gender equality in research. 

The Gender Plan gives structure to established BSE principles and activities and proposes new actions based on a detailed study that BSE conducted to understand the issues that affect researchers, professors, students, alumni, and staff in the BSE community.

Along the same lines as the Gender Plan, BSE also created an Equality Plan, which focuses on employees and the work environment.

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