Gender, Race and Leadership of the International Studies Association

A friend and I recently exchanged email in which it was observed that

Out of 53 ISA presidents, there have been 7 women and 0 African Americans.

See the list of ISA presidents here

For the record, the ISA was founded in the late 1950s, and the first female president, Dina Zinnes, served in 1980-81.  Helga Haftendorn followed in 1990-91, Susan Strange in 1995-96, and Peg Hermann in 1998-99.  In the new millennium Ann Tickner, Beth Simmons, and Etel Solingen have each served.  The vast majority of ISA presidents were born in the US, and virtually all are of European heritage.

Were one to scrutinize membership on the ISA Council, I suspect one would learn that the gender pattern would equalize sometime around the mid-1990s, Americans would be less dominant than they have been in the Presidency, but those of European descent would be almost equally as dominant (i.e., >= 90%).  But those are guesstimates.

I assume none of this is surprising, though perhaps you will agree that it is noteworthy.


About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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3 Responses to Gender, Race and Leadership of the International Studies Association

  1. mdwardlab says:

    Care to speculate about the membership, Will?

  2. Mike Tierney says:

    According to the ISA website there are 11 men and 13 women currently serving on the ISA Council.
    According to the ISA’s 2013 Committee on the Status of Women Report, “women are often around one third (34%) of the total membership in national political science associations…”
    According to the ISA’s 2011 Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, around 40% of ISA members are women.
    So, the current snapshot does not support the claim that women are under-represented in positions of power within the ISA (assuming the Council represents some form of authoritative collective principal and is not mere window dressing). More disturbing perhaps, these numbers reflect a pattern observed within many departments and universities where women end up doing a disproportionate share of the service work, which presumably leaves less time for research.

    • Will H. Moore says:

      Mike T, it appears I phrased it poorly. I was trying to say that I suspected women would have stopped being underrepresented from about the mid-90s forward (though, as Mike W seems to imply, they were likely a tiny fraction of the membership through the 60s and into the 70s), and was tempted to speculate that are not over-represented, especially if one were to tag posts by stereotypically “male” and “female” posts, but felt I would not do so clearly.

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