Women in Econ/Policy was set up to create an inclusive space for women interested in economics and policy to share their experiences and learn from each other. In June, when we sent out the first sign up form for the group we had envisioned a small group of 23-30 members that got together to discuss readings about development, policy and women. We received over 70 responses, and had to close the form while we took stock of how we wanted to proceed with the group. Our first set of members were so supportive and active, that we realised we wanted to extend the benefits of the group to women from all ages and backgrounds. We decided to create a Twitter account in July and reopen the sign up form forever. Looking back, it’s not completely surprising that the group received such a response. Throughout my undergraduate and master’s degrees, I longed for such a support system as I navigated the male dominated field that economics often is.
We were continuously surprised by each milestone we reached this year (some of which I’ve added to the image below). The group has grown tremendously these past 7 months - we grew from 70 members to over 700, held reading groups and R sessions and conducted external sessions with Dr Ruth Levine, Yamini Aiyar, and Professors Pascaline Dupas, Anisha Sharma, Kanika Mahajan and Seema Jayachandran. We sent out newsletters that focused on how a myriad of development challenges such as financial inclusion, agriculture, climate change and intimate partner violence affect women.
None of this could have been possible without every person who volunteered their time to work on our newsletters, organise reading groups and R sessions, manage the twitter account and come up with fresh ideas for the group. We have received support from so many of you over these past months, and I am truly thankful for this community of women who believe so strongly in uplifting other women. I thank you all for sharing job opportunities, replying to doubts on the WhatsApp group, volunteering to personally connect with other members, reading our newsletters, and attending our sessions. We have received an outpouring of love and encouragement from you, and you are the reason this group continues to thrive. I am also grateful for all the non-members (membership is after all open to only women) who tuned into sessions, signed up for our newsletter and retweeted our content.
As we enter 2021 together, I am hopeful that we will eventually be able to meet in person and learn from each other. In the meantime, we will continue to organise interactive sessions, professional development sessions and send out newsletters. We have some big plans for the group in 2021, which we will announce in the coming months. We are committed to increasing diversity in the fields of Economics and Policy, and look forward to thinking about creating inclusive spaces for all minorities.
We hope we played a part in making this difficult year a little better for you, as you and the group surely did for me. Thank you for inspiring us, and believing in this project. Happy Holidays! I wish you all lots of love and peace and hope to see you soon in 2021!
Prerna (Chief Editor)