Addressing the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in economics and related fields

The Diversity Problem

Economics has a diversity problem, especially with regards to gender, as indicated by Bloomberg, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.  Appropriately, the discipline has earned the title of an "ol' boys club," with the majority of influential professors and policymakers being largely white and male. While underrepresented groups have begun to make headway in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, the lack of diversity in economics remains a problem as the barriers to top doctoral programs rise and the field continues to skew towards white men. According to Dr. Rhonda V. Sharpe, the number of Black women pursuing economics is declining and less historically Black colleges and universities are offering economics as a major. 


In 2018, five out of 1,197 doctoral degrees in Economics, were awarded to Black women. In other words, less than 0.5 percent. Comparatively, Black women accounted for nearly 4 percent of all STEM PhDs awarded in 2018. At the Bachelors level, the disparity in economics is just as concerning. Only 4 percent of bachelor degrees in economics were earned by Black women in 2018. It is also well known that economics is a proxy business and finance careers. According to the National Science Foundation, less Black women are majoring in mathematics and other STEM-related disciplines over time. However, social sciences, such as psychology, are growing in interest.

The Sadie Collective seeks to be an answer to the dismal representation of Black women in the quantitatively demanding fields.

Black Women and Careers in Economics and Related Fields

Textual Analysis of Pre-Surveys for the 2020 Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference for Economics and Related Fields in response to 1) What excites Black women about a career in economics and related fields? and 2) What worries Black women about a career in economics and related fields?

Data on Black Women in Economics

2019 Report of the Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession (CSMGEP)

National Science Foundation 2019 Report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with
Disabilities in Science and Engineering

Rhonda V. Sharpe's 2018 National Economic Association Presidential Address

Data on Black Women in Economics

Our Mission

By empowering and equipping Black women in quantitative sciences, The Sadie Collective addresses the pipeline and pathway problem in economics, finance, data science, and public policy through curated content creation, programming, and mentorship.

Our History

The Sadie Collective was officially founded in August 2018 in Washington, D.C. by two Black women: Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, then an undergraduate at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Fanta Traore, then a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Both women drew inspiration from their own personal experiences as Black women studying economics and the National Economic Association presidential address on the pipeline for Black women in the field, given by Dr. Rhonda V. Sharpe.​

The  Sadie  Collective is named  after  Sadie  Tanner  Mossell  Alexander,  the  first  African American  to  earn  her  doctoral  degree  in  economics  in  1921  from  the  University  of Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately,  due  to  racial  barriers  that  persisted  at  the  time,  she  was  unable to  find  work  in  the  economics  profession  and  instead  pursued  a  career  in  law,  holding  a variety  of  positions  such  as  Assistant  City  Solicitor  for  the  City  of  Philadelphia  and  President of  John  F.  Kennedy's  Committee  for  Civil  Rights  Under  Law. 

The Collective aims  to  bring  together  Black  women  at different  stages  in  their  academic  and/or  professional  careers  in  the  quantitative  sciences  to share  resources,  network,  and  advocate  for  broader  visibility  in  the  field.  The  Collective  strives to  create  safe  spaces  where  Black  women  in  these  fields  can  obtain  the  resources  they  need to  thrive. The  Collective  is  working  to  shift  inequitable  power  structures  that  create  barriers  to  access in  economics  so  that  everyone  can  fully  participate  in  the  field.


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