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  • Daira Povez-Gamboa

Event Recap: WWIE International Women’s Day Conference (Saturday 12 March)

More than 100 years have passed since we started celebrating International Women’s Day. The world has changed a lot and will keep changing because even though there has been a lot of progress, there are still many points to improve.

This year's campaign theme was “Break the Bias”. Imagine a world free of bias, stereotypes; a world where diversity is celebrated and valued; a gender-equal world. We can be part of the movement and we might have already been part by participating in many events/initiatives for International Women’s Day: From virtual panels to in-person events, podcasts, newsletters, or essays. For example, The Economist released a section called “Women Around the world”, a selection of their best coverage of the lives of women. It also included a series of essays about girls’ education, commissioned by Nobel peace prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Another example was the Warwick Women in Economics Society (WWiE) Conference. WWiE was founded in 2020 after the “Women in Economics: student Workshop” hosted by the Warwick Department of Economics in January 2020. This event allowed female economics students from many universities in the UK to present their ideas on how to diversify economics and attracts more female students to the field. Warwick Women in Economics has a similar aim: to address the inclusivity problem in the discipline of economics by providing inclusive networks and hosting safe spaces to express our voices, as well as, to raise awareness of the importance of economics amongst underrepresented groups.

I had the pleasure of attending this years conference and I was delighted with the insights I gained by listening to the amazing line-up of speakers. The day started at around 12:30 pm with the arrival and registration of many female students. Most of us were studying economics but there were students from other degrees as well as master's and postgraduate students.

The first session was “Why Financial Inclusion is Good for Women, for Banks and the Global Economy”, hosted by Mary Ellen Iskenderian, president and CEO of Women's World Banking. Mary’s experience and passion for women’s economic empowerment were denoted through her presentation.

Kate Collyer’s presentation was the second of the day. She is Chief Economist at the Financial Conduct Authority and chair of the Committee on Emerging risks. Her career and advice inspired us to consider different career pathways.

Then, we had the Women’s careers in Economics. The brilliant speakers were from different backgrounds and had different work experiences. This allowed me to learn more about different career options and to learn that diversity should be a strength in economics.

After the panel, we had Victoria Bateman’s talk called “The Cult of Female Modesty”. This was my favourite part of the conference as I gained great insight into the history of female modesty and how the stereotypes have always been presented in our societies and probably that is one of the main reasons is still present. Victoria’s personality and feminist perspective were vital to making the presentation interesting and insightful during its whole duration!

Almudena Sevilla, Professor in Economics and Public Policy at UCL, and Chair of the Royal Economic Society Women's Committee presented “why economics needs women… and women need economics”. Also, she showed us some initiatives the Royal Economics Society is developing to encourage more females to study economics. She mentioned Discover Economics!

The day ended with a presentation by Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, professor at Columbia University. Stephanie went through one of her last research papers focused on “Optimal Bank Reserve Remuneration and Capital Control Policy”. She showed us her passion for addressing complex policy issues by using solid science and economic models.

In summary, the conference was a brilliant and insightful opportunity to learn more about economics by networking, listening, and receiving advice from successful female economists. An event you cannot miss. Look forward to attending next year!

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