10 Women in Heterodox Economics that You Should Know About

10 Women in Heterodox Economics that You Should Know About

The theme for the 2024 International Women’s Day is “inspire inclusion”. Are you curious to find out more about women economists who advocated for inclusion and made history in heterodoxy?

Here are 10 women in heterodox economics you should know about!

Victoria Chick (1936 – 2023)

Victoria Chick was one of the most important contributors to post-Keynesian economics, with works spanning from methodology, monetary economics, financialisation and industrial policy. After graduating from Berkeley, she moved to London in 1960 to pursue a PhD at the London School of Economics. She took up a post at UCL in 1963 where she remained all her working life. She became a professor in 1993. Vicky retired in 2001 though worked on research until her death in 2023. She was the co-founder of the Post-Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKES) and a world-leading expert on Keynes. Her interpretation of Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money after her dissatisfaction with mainstream attempts to hijack Keynes’ ideas led to her influential work, Macroeconomics After Keynes: A Reconsideration of The General Theory (1983).

More recent publications include Should Equilibrium Be Abandoned by Heterodox Economists? (2022) and Open and Closed Systems (2023).

Maria da Conceição Tavares (1930 -)

Maria da Conceição Tavares is a Portuguese naturalized Brazilian economist. She is a full professor at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), and professor emeritus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). After completing an economics degree in 1960 at UFRJ, she published her first article in 1963, titled Rise and fall of the import-substitution process in Brazil, in which she discussed import-substituting industrialisation as a historical model of development. Together with Celso Furtado, Tavares became a leading scholar in the Latin American structuralist-developmentalist approach. Some of her works include From Import Substitution to Financial Capitalism (1973), and Capital Accumulation and Industrialization in Brazil (1986). After holding positions at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (1965-67) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (1968), she became a professor of UFRJ and Unicamp in the 1970s until the 1990s. Alongside her academic career, Conceição Tavares is a political activist, advisor, and a member of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies between 1995 and 1999.

Recent publications about her work include Fernandez’s (2021) interview with Tavares, and Bielschowsky’s (2010) article about her leading contributions to Latin-American structuralist thought.

Originating from Karwar, on the Malabar Coast of India, Krishna R. Bharadwaj studied at the University of Bombay, obtaining her PhD in 1960. Initially a development theorist, Bharadwaj became acquainted with the Cambridge School during a sojourn in MIT (USA), where she happened to first meet Joan Robinson.  Bharadwaj wrote a highly influential review Piero Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities in 1963.  She went to Cambridge as a visiting fellow in 1967, coming under the influence of Piero Sraffa and going on to become one of his closest disciples. Bharadwaj returned to India in 1971, joining the faculty at the Nehru University in Delhi.  She would continue to be a prominent Neo-Ricardian theorist and expositor of the school (and Sraffa’s ideas in particular) for the next two decades. Some of her work focused on applying Sraffian theory to development problems, such as Classical Political Economy and the Rise to Dominance of Supply and Demand Theories (1978).

Recent articles discussing her ideas are Bertram Schefold’s (1998) article about her reconstruction of economic theory through history, and Maria Cristina Marcuzzo (2021)’s analysis of Bharadwaj’s interpretation of expectations.

Sadie Alexander (1898-1989)

Sadie T.M. Alexander was a pioneering Black professional and civil rights activist of the early to mid-20th century. In 1921, Alexander was the second African American woman to receive a PhD, and the first one to receive one in economics in the United States, with a dissertation titled The Standard of Living Among One Hundred Negro Migrant Families in Philadelphia. After struggling to secure a job despite her formal education (Banks, 2005), she turns to Law. In 1927, she was first Black woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and went on to become the first Black woman to practice law in the state. Alexander developed arguments to overcome black oppression by calling for policies that would lead to economic justice, including in her contributions to economics through speeches and writings. She analysed discrimination in the labour market, including unemployment, job precarity, and low wage levels amongst the Black population, also focusing on the role of Black women and their contribution to Black American living standards and national output. Her contributions inspired the stratification economics tradition and the Black Radical approach in Political Economy.

Recent works about Alexander include Nina Banks’s book (2021) and article (2022) about her economic contributions, as well as Malveaux’s (1991) analysis on the missed opportunity in economics for not paying attention to Alexander’s works.

Susan Himmelweit (1948 – )

‘Sue’ Felicity Himmelweit is a feminist economist interested in gender issues in economic and social policy. Susan researches in areas such as inequalities within households, the economics of caring as well as the gender implications of economic policy. Susan is an emeritus professor of economics for the Open University, and was the 2009 president of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE). She is a founding chair and active member of the Women’s Budget Group; member of the editorial board of Feminist Economics; and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

Recent publications include a chapter in A Research Agenda for Financial Resources within the Household (2024), a chapter in In Taxation and Social Policy  (2023) and a co-authored paper in Feminist Economics in 2021.

Julia Steinberger (1974 – )

Julia Steinberger is Professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Lausanne and an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report. She received her PhD in physics in 2004 from MIT and was promoted to professor in 2020. Her research considers the relationships between the use of resources (energy, materials and emission of greenhouse gases) and performance of societies (wellbeing and economic output) and is geared towards alternative development pathways to guide the necessary transition to a low carbon society. She has pioneered links between ecological and heterodox economics, both through PhD supervisions and her adoption of the systems of provision approach.

Her research project, for which she received the Leverhulme Research Leadership Award,  ‘Living Well Within Limits’ investigates how universal human well-being might be achieved within planetary boundaries.

Sheila Dow (1949- )

Sheila Dow is a post-Keynesian economist who has extensively written about the philosophy of economics, the history of economic thought, and has raised methodological awareness in the fields of macroeconomics, money and banking. She earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Glasgow in 1981. During her PhD she became a Lecturer at the University of Stirling where she was promoted to reader in 1988 and full professor in 1996. Since 2012 she is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria. Among others, she has held positions with the Bank of England and the Government of Manitoba. Sheila has also held positions as the co-editor of Economic Thought and was the associate editor for the Journal of Economic Methodology. She is part of the academic council of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and she is a member of SSRN Economics advisory board.

Sheila has over 250 research outputs. Recent books include Foundations for New Economic Thinking (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and co-edited volumes of The General Theory and Keynes for the 21st Century (Edward Elgar, 2018) and Money, Method and Post-Keynesian Economics for the 21st Century (Edward Elgar, 2018). Sheila Dow has often collaborated with Victoria Chick. The two published a pioneering article (2005) discussing the notion of “open systems” for economic methodology.

Marilyn Waring (1952 – )

Marilyn Waring (CNZM) is a New Zealand feminist, former politician, author, academic, and activist for female human rights and environmental issues. She is best known for her 1988 book If Women Counted, and she obtained a PhD in political economy in 1989. She is known as one of the founders of feminist economics. Since 2006, Waring has been a Professor of Public Policy at the Institute of Public Policy at AUT in Auckland (NZ), focusing on governance and public policy, political economy, gender analysis, and human rights. She has outspokenly criticised the concept of GDP, the economic measure that became a foundation of the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA) following World War II. She criticises a system which “counts oil spills and wars as contributors to economic growth, while child-rearing and housekeeping are deemed valueless”.

Recent publications about her work include an edited volume by Bjornholt and McKay (2014), and Saunders and Dalziel (2017) article about her critique of national account systems.

Suzanne de Brunhoff (1929–2015)

Suzanne de Brunhoff was a Marxist activist and economist who wrote widely on monetary policy, international monetary relations, financial liberalisation and Marx’s views on the significance of money within capitalist society. She studied sociology at the Sorbonne and received a PhD in Sociology as well as Economics. From 1960 onward Suzanne became a researcher at Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris where she became the Director later on. She taught at the University of Paris VII, the New School and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). International recognition came with Marx on Money (1976) where Suzanne as, a “radical thinker”, analyses how money, debt and credit fit into the logic of capital.

The State, Capital and Economic Policy (1978) is her second book that was translated into English.  More recent publications on her work show how Suzanne has developed the most innovative contributions to Marxist theory of money since classical Marxism (Baronian, 2021).

Hazel Kyrk (1886-1957)

Born in Ashley (Ohio), Hazel Kyrk was a pioneer in the study of consumption decisions and of the allocation of time in households. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 1910 with a PhB in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key. After a year as an instructor in economics at Wellesley College, Kyrk returned to the University of Chicago to study for a PhD in economics, writing her dissertation with the economic demographer James A. Field. Her dissertation, accepted in 1920, was published as A Theory of Consumption (1923) winning the prestigious Hart, Schaffner and Marx Prize for economic research. In that book and in The Economic Problems of the Family (1929), Kyrk discussed how social psychology shapes consumer choice and how the economic role of the housewife was moving beyond household production to being a “director of consumption”. She reinterpreted Thorstein Veblen’s (1899) account of consumption to reveal its operational value for a normative agenda directed toward “wise” and “rational” consumption.

Recent articles discussing Kyrk’s works are Philippy et al.’s (2023) article on her intellectual roots, as well as Todorova’s (2023) analysis of Kyrk’s links with original institutional economics.


Here is AHE’s management committee coordinator Danielle Guizzo promoting women in Economics in two short videos for the University of Bristol in the UK: