A joint initiative by PhD students at the Graduate Institute Geneva, the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne, and EPFL since 2019.
Let's make a more inclusive and equitable economics profession together!
We founded the Rare Voices in Economics initiative in the fall of 2019 first under the name of Women in Economics Léman. Since then, PhD students, postdocs, and professors from the Graduate Institute, the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne, and EPFL have been gathering to discuss and engage with issues related to diversity and inclusion in the economics profession. Guided by academic research as well as personal reflection, we organically came up with a strategy that aims to break self-perpetuating inequalities. This task is not straightforward and our approach fluidly adapts to evolving insights and views. On the one hand, we recognize the importance of bringing diversity into the profession. However, so long as these acts remain performative, they are not going to change the fundamental problem. We need to change the environment such that diversity is not merely a tolerated feature of our professional spaces, but a desired one. Further, we need the space to be open and welcoming to diversity, such that all voices can perform at their best.
WHO WE ARE
We are PhD students in Economics, some of us are “rare voices*”, others are not. We all believe that our profession could do better both in terms of individual experience and productivity via better allocation of talents. Creating a safe space for diverse voices to express themselves can benefit everybody. Our mission is to keep this discussion open and advocate for change at the institutional level.
Since the start of the initiative, two important learnings have shifted our perspective on how we can contribute to mitigating the existing lack of inclusivity in the profession. First, the systemic problems making economics unattractive for women are similar to those that prevent other minorities from thriving in the profession. Second, to challenge existing stereotypes and the status quo, we need allies from all backgrounds to be involved.
We, therefore, changed our name to RARE VOICES IN ECONOMICS in 2021 to reflect better our members and our mission. We welcome everybody, regardless of gender, who shares our vision of feminism, inclusivity, and respect or is open to exchange ideas constructively.
The logo embodies our philosophy as RARE VOICES IN ECONOMICS. First, the speech bubble represents the belief that everyone should be allowed to speak up and be heard. Second, different forms within the bubble show diversity. Our initiative wants to include everyone with the desire to share their „voice“. Finally, contrasting colors represent the idea that individuals can fit well together. We also chose contrasting colors that can be seen easily with color vision deficiency.
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Raising awareness and fostering an open exchange through our workshops. We review relevant scientific papers and reflect during our occasional roundtables with experts in the field.
Leveling the playing field through our mentoring program and theater workshops to empower PhD students in building networks and mastering challenging environments.
Promoting institutional change via our guidelines for more inclusive economics departments. These changes are approved by the Graduate Institute and sparked a conversation within other departments.
Creating a safe space for research using our research clusters and our annual Rare Voices in Economics conference. During these events, we create secure and stimulating places to discuss research.
*Under-represented groups include, but are not limited to, women, individuals of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, individuals from less privileged backgrounds, disabled individuals, people with mental health conditions, first-generation students, religious minorities, indigenous groups (…).