July 15, 2011

Women and CNAS

Micah Zenko has a piece up on Foreign Policy's website about gender (im)balance in think tanks. His data (which I assume he took from our website, here) demonstrates that only 18% of our policy-related staff is female and that just 31% of our overall staff is female.

There are lies, though, damn lies, and then statistics. In this case (and I can only speak for myself, obviously), CNAS does not seem like such a male-dominated place if you actually work here. This is because our staff includes a lot of non-resident and part-time staff who are rarely here. If you subtract part-time staff like Tom Ricks and Bob Kaplan (sorry, guys) who are rarely here and non-resident staff like David Asher and Nancy Berglass (who are almost never here), the numbers are different: CNAS actually has just as many female full-time staff (50%, or 11) as we do male full-time staff. (And two more females are about to join the full-time staff in the next week, putting men in the overall minority.) Among our research staff, we do have a big gender imbalance: 11 men to just three women. (With another on the way, making the percentage either 21% or 27%, depending on how charitable you want to be.) That having been said, our director of research is Kristin Lord, and her deputy is Nora Bensahel. So to the degree that we are hierarchical, women are in real positions of authority when it comes to shaping our research agenda.