Director of studies at the Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, Bateman argued in an article for the Times Higher Education magazine that society values men in jobs where they risk injury or violence, but not women in the same position.
“For society to be inconsistent is one thing. For supposedly rational economists to be likewise is another,” Bateman wrote.
“As a profession, we economists need to be standing up to irrational societal norms. The inconsistent treatment of a largely female profession compared with largely male professions is nothing other than sexism under the cover of ‘well-meaning’ paternalism.
“Those engaging in consensual sex work need to be helped to benefit from markets that work with them rather than against them.”
She added that denying women the right to prostitution is simply, even if well-meant, sexism.
“The neglect of the sex trade is an eloquent symbol of fact that women are underrepresented among economists. But it cannot go on. However dismal your view of prostitution, there is no question that this oldest of trades is ripe for study by the dismal science,” Bateman said.
“The usual justification is that the sale of sex is ‘immoral’ and preys on the most vulnerable in society. However, there is a logical inconsistency with the way that we think about consensual prostitution compared with the male-dominated spheres of soldiering and boxing.”
Bateman is no stranger to controversy, having showed up at a Cambridge faculty meeting last year naked and with the words “Brexit leaves Britain naked” scrawled across her breasts and stomach.
She has also said that society seems to be fine with women “pimping their brains” but that women who make money out of having a desirable body and erotic talents are shamed.