Why There Are So Few Black Women Economists : Planet Money In 1921, Sadie Alexander became the first Black person in America to receive a PhD in economics. Then, she was functionally shut out of economics jobs, got a law degree, and became an attorney instead. A century later, economics has made notably little progress bringing Black women into the field. We work with The Sadie Collective to bring you three stories from three eras of recent history that show us how the field has changed, where it still falls short, and the unique joys of being a Black woman and loving economics. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

100 Years Since Sadie Alexander

100 Years Since Sadie Alexander

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Courtesy Sadie Collective. Photo by Mathematica
Courtesy Sadie Collective, Photo by Mathematica.
Courtesy Sadie Collective. Photo by Mathematica

Dr. Sadie Alexander became America's first Black economist in 1921. But after receiving her PhD, she was shut out of the profession. She got a law degree and became an attorney instead. In the 100 years since, economics has made incredibly little progress bringing Black women into the profession. A total of about twelve-hundred economics PhDs were issued in 2019. Exactly four of those PhDs were issued to Black women.

To honor the 100th anniversary of Dr. Sadie Alexander's PhD, we've teamed up with The Sadie Collective — a nonprofit working to help more Black women enter economics — to tell stories about entering economics as a Black woman. These are three stories from three different eras, each carries a lesson, an insight, and holds a mirror to economics itself. We speak to Dr. Cecilia Conrad, Dr. Carycruz Bueno, and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman.

Music: "Blue Wave," "Call Me Yours," "Marvelous Vibe," and "Rubbery Bounce."

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