If this election year has you reading more political analysis than usual, take a second to notice the “experts” being quoted. There are a lot of men on that list.
That's pretty typical, noted a recent post in the Washington Post that points to a recent Vox article titled “We asked 6 political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election.” Every one of those political scientists was a white male.
The implicit bias of writers to turn to “experts” who are like themselves persists in scholarly writing, too.
Samara Klar, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Arizona, had an idea on how to overcome it. Make women experts better known and easily available.
So on Feb. 5 she created the website #womenalsoknowstuff and flagged it for a dozen acquaintances in political science.
“I figured that if one or two women gained a bit of visibility, it would be a success. But it has absolutely taken on a life of its own,” Klar said.
A week later, the list has some 70 areas of expertise, from the American presidency to war, and dozens of women experts and their contacts.
Academics from across the country are listed, at Ivy League schools, private and public universities. Twenty of the women are in Wisconsin.
They include UW-Madison’s Eleanor Neff Powell on campaign finance, Aili Mari Tripp on gender politics and Kathy Cramer on public opinion. Also on the list is Marquette University’s Julia Azari on the American presidency.
Klar is hoping the list is the start of something with real impact.
“I would love it if we were able to keep track of any impact it might have in a more systematic way," she said. "Hopefully someone will come up with a clever way to do so or will even volunteer to take that on!”