Being the only woman on a panel, working in a department with a 20% share of female faculty, not being able to come up with names of female guest speakers to invite or co-authoring papers with only male colleagues – there is a myriad of situations constantly reminding us that women are marginalized in the world of political science.
Let’s talk about collaborations, for instance. Heather Sarson’s paper on gender differences in academia shows that group work (in economics) is perceived differently depending on whether you are a man or a woman. This highlights one of the substantial challenges for women in the social sciences. Whereas men get tenured at roughly the same rates no matter whether their work is co-authored or single-authored, single-authored papers are much more important for women to reach a tenured academic position. The explanation is simple and consistent with many anecdotal accounts of women that we have come to hear over the last years: if you want to be recognized, you need to single-author as much as possible. In co-authored work fellow academics are much less likely to believe that your contribution was large/substantial/relevant/actually yours.
The consequences of women’s hesitation (with good reason!) to co-author are dramatic: Women have smaller networks. Women have fewer colleagues who know their work and who they can trust with providing support, input, and letters. Women get less feedback and publish at slower rates.
Of course, collaborations are just one aspect. But that’s where the PONY club comes in. To us, it seems crucial that women get to know each other informally so that we can build relationships, exchange feedback, work together, discuss struggles and start collaborating. The PONY club is a platform that helps us recognize each other.