For International Women's Day we spoke with Associate Professor Vanessa Berenguer Rico to explore what led to her career in Economics, and what she thought could be improved upon to welcome more women into the field of Economics.
What led you to a career in Economics?
A teenage urge to understand the world, to understand societies… plus my love of maths.
Why aren’t there many women in the field of economics?
I had many female friends and colleagues during my undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral times. There were not so many women, though, at the Department when I started as Associate Professor. Satisfyingly, this has changed enormously since then. I hope this trend continues in the future at Oxford and elsewhere.
What motivates you in your work?
My work consists of two main activities: (i) research, where I design and analyse new statistical tools and techniques and (ii) teaching, where I lecture and tutor on statistics and econometrics. The fun and sense of fulfilment that I experience while doing either of these two activities is what motivates me.
What do we need to change for women to take up space in the field of Economics?
We need to create an environment in which women are welcome and respected as equal peers. I want to believe things are already changing in that direction.
What has the last year taught you?
Many things… I would point two out: (i) how important are the simplest things in life; and (ii) how much one can miss family and friends.
What women have inspired you and why?
My teachers. Because they (actually, women and men alike) instilled in me a passion for learning, exploration, analysis, and education.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I am not sure it is “the best” but it is often a good one: “Be water, my friend”
What do you think can be done to forge a more inclusive world?
Start being inclusive from the beginning, from childhood. At home, at school. Do not segregate, mix up.