Do we need more female economists? Do we need an equal number of men and women pursuing each subject for equality to exist? I don’t think so.
I think we need people to have the freedom to make prudential use of their own talents and abilities without hitting arbitrarily constructed walls. We need job candidates to be assessed on their individual merits and performances rather than on preconceived notions about their genders. We need individuals to be free to pursue their respective areas of interest without wrongful discrimination, regardless of prevailing gender ratios.
This, I think, is what we really want. This is equality.
And if that day comes, when the walls of arbitrary discrimination have been torn down, when the barriers constructed of faulty assumptions about men and women have been stripped away, we may find that men and women still generally pursue different interests. We may find that, even in the absence of sexism, the lopsided statistics we today use as evidence of wrongful discrimination still stand. We may find that, in a society where applicants are selected based on merit rather than stereotypes, that the ratio of female to male economists is not one to one.
And that’s okay.
In fact, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Because having “equal opportunities” means having equal freedom to turn them down.