Monday, February 22, 2016

New Group Highlighting Diversity Problems at Think Tanks

Watch out all you think tanks who lack gender diversity, because a new group may be writing about you very soon.

We are talking about The Diversity Tank, a new project looking at think tank diversity, and which has started out highlighting the gender diversity (or lack thereof) at top think tanks.

In one of its first posts, The Diversity Tank tweeted a chart looking at gender diversity of "experts" at the top think tanks in the United States.  Here is the raw data.

That chart shows that RAND Corporation leads the pack, with 42% of experts at the think tank being female.  Center for American Progress (CAP) followed RAND, with 40% of its experts being female.  At the bottom of the list was the Cato Institute, with only around 6% of its experts being female.

The Diversity Tank has also tweeted a chart showing the gender diversity among program directors at the top 10 US think tanks.  CAP was #1 with 46% of its program directors being female (RAND has only 29%).  The lowest was Cato, with not a single female program director.  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) had the next lowest, with females making up only 13% of its program directors.

The Diversity Tank sent out another recent tweet showing gender diversity on think tank boards.  Of the top 10 US think tanks, the Center for American Progress has 33% of its board consisting of females, the highest of the think tanks.  Close behind is National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) with 32%, CFR with 31%, Wilson Center with 29%, and Heritage Foundation with 27%.  At the bottom of the list was Cato Institute, with only 10% of its board members being female.  CSIS only has 13% of its board members being females.

The Diversity Tank's formation comes as the Obama Administration has proposed new regulations that would require employers with 100 or more workers to disclose how much they pay men and women.

The Diversity Tank tells Think Tank Watch that it started its project due to frustration with the lack of diversity at think tanks.  "It's a huge problem that stems from specific hiring practices that can be changed if there's enough incentive.  The hope is that the more publicity this problem gets, the more incentive there will be to address," says Diversity Tank, which also noted that a much bigger problem at think tanks is lack of racial and class diversity.  Diversity Tanks, however, said that is much harder to measure than gender using publicly available data.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on women in think tanks, and another on women as think tank heads.  Is the average DC think tank event still five guys in suits?  And do men still dominate the think roles at think tanks?  Here is another Think Tank Watch piece on women leadership roles at think tanks.

We also wonder whether think tanks will continue to be slammed for lack of gender diversity on think tank panels.