This is my first blog post ever! I thought I would bring to the world of international law a debate that is occurring within international relations senior faculty women. A recent very systematic study has documented a gender citation gap. The finding is that women are more likely to cite women, but combined with the reality that men’s articles are cited more than articles by female authors, and there are more men than women in international relations (and political science), it becomes for women hard to escape the systematic cumulative effects of bias. The authors find that controlling for many factors that may matter (paradigms, venues, subject matter, methodology), women’s articles should be cited 4.7 times more than they actually are cited. With fewer controls, the finding is that single authored articles by women receive roughly 73% the citations of articles written by men or articles with a male coauthor.
If this happens in international relations, it likely also happens in international law. Indeed this is a replication study, investigating a finding that has appeared with respect to other disciplines.
The authors make a number of recommendations. One recommendation is that women should do as men do– self cite–and that we should treat citation figures as a gender biased indicator. Another recommendation is that this issue of gender citation should be monitored, with journals regularly reporting statistics involving gender in the article. Larry Helfer brought to my attention that EJIL does this.
The senior IR faculty women are currently discussing how we may influence journals to pay attention to this issue. If you want to comment on this issue, you might respond to Barb Walter’s puzzler where she notes that “you, yes you, can make a difference.”