Back to Top

Past, Present, and Future: Status of Women and Minorities in Agricultural and Applied Economics

Eight AAEA members release new research in AEPP

The last efforts to track diversity, equity, and inclusion in the agricultural and applied economic fields were more than two decades ago. Recent research shows data from a new survey collected by the Committee on Women in Agricultural Economics (CWAE) and the Committee on the Opportunities and Status of Blacks in Agricultural Economics (COSBAE) and supported by the AAEA Trust to provide an updated snapshot of the status of underrepresented and historically underserved groups in agricultural and applied economics, and further quantify faculty diversity using the Shannon’s Diversity Index, capture sentiments regarding departmental culture, and document sexual harassment and discrimination experience within the profession.

In the recently published article “Past, present, and future: Status of women and minority faculty in agricultural and applied economics” published in the Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Jana Hilsenroth, Lurleen M. Walters, Kelly A. Grogan and Tara Wade from the University of Florida, Anna Josephson from the University of Arizona, Zoë T. Plakias from The Ohio State University, Leah H. Palm-Forster from the University of Delaware, Simanti Banerjee from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ask three questions:

  1. What is the current status of women and underrepresented and historically underserved faculty in agricultural and applied economics departments, and has it changed over time?
  2. What are the potential obstacles for recruitment and retention of these faculty in academic departments?
  3. What specific  strategies are departments employing to support diversity, equity, and includsion (DEI) when it comes to faculty, and are those strategies effective?

The authors state, “While agricultural and applied economics departments have grown more diverse since 1996, metrics reflecting equity and inclusion suggest the departmental climate in many units is a barrier to recruitment and retention of faculty from underrepresented groups. As a profession, we need to identify and address issues that are impeding DEI progress, including (but not limited to) toxic departmental cultures and subtle (or less subtle) biases in hiring, mentoring, promoting, and retaining faculty from diverse backgrounds. We call for substantial and intentional actions and involvement in DEI initiatives at the departmental and professional organization levels. There also seems to be a strong need for metrics to be re-evaluated to ensure that intended goals are being met. Leadership in departments and professional organizations should aim to be more proactive in assessing and meeting DEI goals.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190