Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

First women economists in the French academy: 1930s-1940s

Annie L. Cot, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Few women managed to write a Ph.D. in Political Economy France before WWII – and fewer entered the academy as professors or researchers - much less than in Law. The paper surveys the destiny of some of the first women who wrote a thesis (or a prized academic book) in economics during the 1930s and 1940s: where?, with whom? with which recognition? More than half of them were supervised by two professors of the University of Paris: Gaeëan Pirou and William Oualid. None of them managed to become full professor (professeur agrégée) before 1946 (for Jane Aubert Krier) or 1962. The others were forced to embrace other types of professional careers, in applied economics, in politics, or in law – or to abandon any form of intellectual commitment and become a housewife.

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Keywords: Women economists, France, 1930s-1940s