Women in Economics Network
The Women in Economics Network (WEN) was created in 2017 to promote and support the careers of female economists in Australia. Its scope spans the public and private sectors, academia and education.
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WEN has more than 500 paid members nationally and an outreach to more than 3,000 followers on social media. It is part of the Economic Society of Australia (ESA).
WEN’s mission is to:
• Professionally connect and support the career development of women in economics.
• Increase the representation of women at all levels of the economics profession.
• Promote public contributions by female economists.
• Encourage the next generation of women to study economics.
These goals are based on the belief that economic policymaking, analysis, research and education will deliver better outcomes for society when informed by a more gender-balanced composition of views and voices.
WEN exists to ensure women in the economics profession are offered the same career opportunities and recognition as their male colleagues, and that women’s values, experiences and expertise are part of Australia’s economic decision-making process.
To address the longstanding under-representation of women in the economic profession, ESA convened a mentoring retreat for female economists in 2016. Following the success of this first retreat, participants initiated the formal creation of WEN as part of ESA. WEN launched in March 2017.
WEN has connected with sister organisations in other countries to become part of a global network of women in economics groups. In 2020, the inaugural chair of WEN, Danielle Wood, was elected president of ESA – the first female to step into this role in ESA’s 95-year history.
WEN membership is open to anyone with an interest in economics or gender-equality issues. It welcomes anyone who would like to support WEN’s cause, including men and non-economists.
Benefits of WEN membership include free or discounted access to WEN events, exclusive access to professional- development workshops and WEN’s media and public speaking register, and eligibility to apply to the WEN mentoring retreat. Members also receive regular newsletters featuring information about WEN events, research, and the contributions and accomplishments of WEN members. In addition, members have the opportunity for their research and career activities to feature in WEN’s newsletters and social-media channels.
WEN members receive the benefits of ESA membership, including access to ESA events, networking opportunities and access to ESA journal publications.
WEN has an active and varied calendar of events and initiatives including seminars on economic research and policy issues, professional-development opportunities, networking events, research conferences, policy symposiums and presentations by eminent speakers.
Topics include women’s financial literacy, macroeconomic forecasts, gender-equality issues in the workforce, the value of unpaid care and women’s leadership.
WEN’s Australian gender economics workshop is an annual forum showcasing the latest economic research on gender-equality issues.
While many of WEN’s events are open to the public, many of its professional-development activities – such as the mentoring retreat – are for members only. WEN aims to make its events as accessible as possible.
Advocating for a more gender-balanced representation of economists in policy debate, WEN has established a media register. Journalists and conference organisations can no longer use the excuse that “no suitable female speakers can be found”. In 2017, WEN assembled the first all-female panel to speak at the National Press Club on the federal budget and it continues this tradition each year.
WEN runs outreach initiatives with schools, universities and teachers to inspire and inform students about the wide range of career pathways economists offer.
WEN has branches in all states and territories, coordinated by an elected local committee. National initiatives are coordinated by an elected WEN national committee. The WEN national chair sits on the central council of ESA.