People

Nobel prize winner Esther Duflo referred to as nameless ‘wife’ – and Twitter is furious

Posted by
Anna Brech
Published
Nobel prize winners Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee

Esther Duflo has just become the youngest recipient for the Nobel Prize in Economics: but certain publications are refusing to acknowledge her record-breaking achievement. 

When Esther Duflo won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences this week, she became the youngest economic sciences laureate and the second woman in history to receive the honor. 

Yet, gender bias dies hard and Duflo – who was co-awarded the title with her husband Abhijit Banerjee, a fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, and Michael Kremer of Harvard University – soon found herself being referred to merely as Banerjee’s “wife” in coverage of the landmark achievement. 

This included the Economic Times, India’s leading business publication: Banerjee was born in India, and the Nobel trio based some of their research to alleviate global poverty in the cities of Mumbai and Vadodara.

Twitter commentators were shocked at the newspaper’s headline, which reduced Duflo to an accessory of her husband’s triumph – with not even a named mention to recognise her success by:

Needless to say, this shade of casual sexism did not go down well with those all too familiar with its guises:

Many people could not believe how such an obvious misstep came about:

To add even more irony to the situation, Duflo is a leading advocate for women in her field. 

You may also like

Tabitha King has a scathing message for those referring to her as “Stephen King’s wife”

Along with Banerjee and Kremer, the Paris-born professor developed pioneering techniques to fight poverty and improve access to education among the world’s poorest communities, using specific policy interventions that have been refined over the course of around 20 years of work.

Responding to news that the trio had won the Nobel this week, Duflo dedicated her part of the achievement to blazing a trail for other women like her: 

Duflo also used the occasion to draw awareness to the lack of female researchers in her discipline, and how this is affecting its long-term outlook:

Clearly there’s still work to do; not just with opening up the field of economics, and ensuring it nurtures emerging female talent, but also in recognition of the achievements that follow this. 

With Duflo at the helm, though, the future looks bright.

Explaining how her team tackles global poverty, she says: “What we try to do in our approach is to say, ‘Look, let’s try to unpack the problems one-by-one and address them as rigorously and scientifically as possible’”.

With the same approach to sexism, who only knows what is possible. 

Image: Getty

Don’t miss out: sign up to the Stylist Daily email for a curated edit of brilliant content every day

Topics

Share this article

Author

Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

Recommended by Anna Brech

Visible Women

A woman just won the Nobel Prize for Physics for the first time in 55 years

She’s also only the third woman in history to be awarded the honour

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
Life

10 inspirational teen girls on battling sexism at school

"I don’t feel like there’s anything boys can do better than girls"

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
Published
Life

Astronaut Barbie has landed, and it’s one giant leap for women in STEM

NASA recently confirmed it is finally sending a woman to the moon.

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
Published
Books

This report has revealed the gender bias in newspaper book coverage

This is why we still needs awards and publishers just for women

Posted by
Sarah Shaffi
Published
Life

How women are being priced out of STEM careers

The government are proposing a new fees system that threatens to price women in science even further out

Posted by
Moya Lothian-McLean
Published