AWE (A Woman’s Experience)


women's studies, religion, science, physics


This paper explores the historical impact of religion in creating gender paucity within the fields of economics and physics that is still present today. Starting in the Enlightenment, practical applications of physics and economics began to improve the human condition in such dramatic ways that each promised salvation through practical or scientific means. In essence, they became secular alternatives to Christianity. Acting as religions themselves, each developed doctrines and dogmas that would lead to a secular salvation. However, inherent in these doctrines was a gendered hierarchy where the rational and mathematical, gendered as masculine, was equated with the divine while the emotional, gendered as feminine, was equated with the terrestrial or mundane. In addition to gendered theologies, each science developed a relevant priesthood that holds the keys to this salvation. Mimicking the male-only priesthood of the church, physics and economics were exclusively practiced by men and subsequently developed priestly cultures exalting intellectuals as prophetic. Even as women were given official admittance to the disciplines, they have remained underrepresented in economics and physics because of the gendered theologies and priestly cultures that have endured over time.


Summer Perez is a rising undergraduate senior studying economics and business. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue economics at the graduate level and continue to research the intersection of economics and feminist theory. In addition to economics, her passions extend to film, where she is currently engaged in a research project regarding the contributions of female authorship in cinema.