If more economists are women, economic analysis will be richer, and if more women are familiar with economic reasoning, public debate will be stronger and deeper— Jonung and Ståhlberg, Econ Journal Watch, 2008.
Women are grossly under-represented in the Economics profession around the globe. To address this gender imbalance in the profession, national economics associations in various countries have formed committees that focus exclusively on increasing the number of women economists. For example, The Committee for the Advancement of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) was formed by the American Economics Association (AEA) in 1973 to increase the number of female economists in the US The Canadian Women Economists (CWEN) ,formed in 1990 targets women economists in Canada The Royal Economic Society’s Women’s Committee (RES), established in 1996, focuses on women economists the UK, and the Committee for Women in Economics (CWE) was formed in 2002 to address the lack of female representation in Australia. These organizations typically sponsor technical/mentoring workshops at major Economics conferences, provide travel grants for members to present papers at conferences, and provide fellowships, internships and dissertation/research grants to women.
Data suggests that the lack of female representation is even more pervasive in African countries, especially in academia. The Economics Department at the University of Burundi has 15 male faculty members and NO female faculty members; the Economics Department at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana also has 18 male faculty members and NO female members Women constitute only 10% (3 women and 27 men) of the Economics Department faculty at the University of Dar es Salaam.
There is clearly a need for a professional association that will focus on addressing the dearth of African women economists. The Association for the Advancement of African Women Economists (AAAWE) fills this need. The organization formed in March 2012, is the first and only organization to focus on facilitating the scholarship of African women economists. To achieve this objective, AAAWE will follows the models used in the other international efforts, but with specific focus on the mentoring of young African women economists.