Women are taking on leadership roles in think tank management, but men still dominate the thinking roles, making up the majority of scholars and “Senior Fellows” who influence policy. According to their public rosters, only a quarter of CAP fellows, 19 of 59 Brookings Institution experts, 20 out of 65 fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations, and seven of 33 Heritage Foundation fellows are women. In academia, an incubator of think tank experts, women hold only 24 percent of tenured positions at doctoral-granting institutions, and merely 19 percent of tenured full professor positions.
Possible reasons given for a lack of women representation in think tanks include family obligations, self-selecting against policy areas such as defense/finance, systematic bias, and difficulty in securing mentorships early in their careers.
Another possibility is a lack of women in political positions, according to the post:
A related problem is the lack of women in political positions, since many policy wonks rise from the ranks of former politicians and government officials. Less than 20 percent of federal and state legislators are women. They occupy only six of 23 cabinet and cabinet-level positions. If fewer women enter politics, fewer women join think tanks after serving their term.
The full blog post can be read here. More about the Roosevelt Institute can be read here.
Here is a recent Think Tank Watch post about women in think tanks. Here is another post on how 42 of the top 50 think tanks are run by men. Who is the most powerful woman think tanker? Is there a trend of women running think tanks? Is the average think tank event just five guys in suits?