Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Sex/Gender and the REF March 20, 2014

Really interesting article here.


We need to make room for breaking the silence March 10, 2014

These last few weeks have been difficult for us as a community—and rightly so—but despite all that’s come to light, still, so much remains hidden. Here, at Feminist Philosophers, we have been talking a bit about the pain of silence recently. I think if we are to come out of this stronger as a community, if we’re going to be able to move forward at all, we need to make room for people to not be silent. Sometimes it seems as though we are caught in a web of interlocking prisoners’ dilemmas: Conversations about harassment, discrimination, and assault are difficult and they are often politically risky. In the short run, if we have the luxury, it can seem easier to simply avoid them. But collectively we have the power to make them less risky.  We can create a culture in which victims are supported well enough to come forward and active bystanders are cultivated. We can do this by offering our solidarity with those who are marginalized, vulnerable, and would otherwise be ignored; by treating our colleagues with respect even when we disagree with them; by acting with compassion and understanding; by speaking and acting ourselves where possible.

To that end, I must acknowledge what happened here last week,  and say that I am thankful for the courageous and peaceful activism of the Northwestern students, for the intervention of Rachel McKinnon (and others) in a comment thread here, and to all of those who are working to make our discipline more inclusive and welcoming.

UPDATE: I also want to acknowledge that our comments policy was violated in a number of ways–and that I am not thankful for. Our ‘Be Nice’ rule is not here simply for the sake of our friends; rather, it’s here so that everyone can participate in healthy and fruitful discussion.  It’s important to note these violations even in cases where I’m very glad that something was said. I have also removed the links above.


Violence against women in the EU March 5, 2014

Filed under: gender,gender inequality,miosgyny,sexual assault,violence — philodaria @ 5:06 pm

Violence against women is “an extensive human rights abuse” across Europe with one in three women reporting some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15 and 8% suffering abuse in the last 12 months, according to the largest survey of its kind on the issue, published on Wednesday.

Read more, here.


Duke freshman and porn-star speaks out February 22, 2014

Filed under: autonomy,bullying,gender,gender inequality,pornography,sex work — philodaria @ 5:44 pm

This is well worth a read.



The PGR’s un-women-friendly epistemology February 11, 2014

Lady Day:

McAfee’s punch line: “Is there a systematic bias in the PGR methodology that leads it to value more male-dominated departments? Well, yes. An unrepresentative and hand-picked advisory board plus unrepresentative and hand-picked evaluators will lead to a slanted take on the value of the work going on in the profession. You don’t have to be a stand-point epistemologist to see this.”

[Update:  I'm going to recommend that anyone who wishes to comment on the post do so at Gone Public, where it originally occurred, rather than below the reblog here. To that end (and because I'm not able to moderate comments today), I've closed comments below.]

Originally posted on gonepublic: philosophy, politics, & public life:

Julie Van Camp just updated her Spring 2004 article, “Female-Friendly Departments: A Modest Proposal for Picking Graduate Programs in Philosophy” that pointed out the under-representation of women on the advisory board of Brian Leiter’s Philosophical Gourmet Report . This month Van Camp expanded the  postscript with numbers showing that in the past ten years little has changed.

Postscript: November 20, 2004 [updated 2/3/2014]

The 2011 Report:
The list of the Top 51 doctoral programs is included in the 2011 Philosophical Gourmet Report. The 56 members of the  Report’s Advisory Board for 2011 included nine females (16.1%) and was based on the reports of 302 evaluators, including 46 women (15.2%).

The 2009 Report:
The 55 members of the  Report’s Advisory Board for 2009 included eight females (14.5%) and was based on the reports of 294 evaluators, including 37 women (12.6%).

The 2006-08 Report:
The 56 members of the Report’s Advisory Board for…

View original 359 more words


Anita January 30, 2014

Filed under: gender inequality,human rights,politics,sexual harassment,the arts — philodaria @ 8:25 pm

The trailer for a new documentary about Anita Hill’s testimony during Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing has been released. (It’s worth remembering that additional witnesses who could have confirmed her testimony, and who made themselves available to testify, were not called to do so.)


Adjunct Faculty and Gender January 18, 2014

Filed under: academia,gender,gender inequality,parenting — Monkey @ 8:06 am

Every single one of us working in universities should be up in arms at the two-tier system currently operating in academia, whereby faculty is divided into those lucky enough to land a permanent position, and those who inhabit a shadowy underworld of precarious, part-time, poorly paid, temporary jobs. Unsurprisingly, there is a gendered dimension to this situation. To get anywhere in the academic world, one needs to work long, long hours. This is largely incompatible with responsibilities of care. Since women tend to take on more care responsibilities (for various reasons), they often end up in the academic underworld.

Academic life is predominantly a man’s world. Women remain on the periphery, and children are all but absent. American universities consistently publish glowing reports stating their commitment to diversity, often showing statistics of female hires as proof of success, but the facts remain: university women make up disproportionately large numbers of temporary (adjunct and non-tenure track) faculty, while the majority of permanent, tenure-track positions are granted to men… The disproportion between male and female university faculty, as in other work forces, is most striking among those who choose to be both professors and parents.

Things really need to change. You can read more here. Thanks to JP.


Syllabi: Got Women? January 3, 2014

When crafting my Intro to Ethics syllabus for the upcoming semester, I tried to find as many great pieces by women as I could, hoping that I could meet the 20% challenge.  I didn’t do any conscious counting, though…until now. Here’s how it turned out:

100 total philosophers that we will be reading or reading about (about 10 are actually scientists or other non-philosophers)
56 are from required readings & activities, 44 from recommended ones.

Gender breakdown:

Required Readings (Men-Women): 68% – 32% (38-18)
Recommended Readings (M-W): 63% – 36% (28-16)

Women of color on the syllabus: Rabi’A Al- Adawiyya, Michelle Alexander, Michele Moody-Adams, and Caster Semenya as someone we’re reading about.  Wooo!! …That’s actually super sad that I’m excited to have more than 1% WoC on my syllabus.

So overall not shabby, considering that current efforts to get 20% women authors on syllabi are seen by some as necessarily lowering the quality of what we teach.  <sarcasmfont> I really had to lower my standards to include Foot, Nussbaum, Anderson, Moody-Adams, Korsgaard, Langton, and Fricker. </sarcasmfont>

I know this is not incredibly difficult when you’re teaching ethics, but it was still rather amusing how many times I stumbled upon a great piece that would make me think, “Oh ya; they do ethics and are awesome. I should teach them. Why didn’t I immediately think of that? And why aren’t they in the textbook?”

I’m using one textbook and everything else is from individual essays. Total authors from the textbook: 29. Men-Women ratio of authors I’m using: 80% – 20% (23-6).  (For the textbook as a whole the ratio is probably between 5-10%, which is my guess from eyeballing it).


How goes other people’s efforts to craft syllabi without atrocious demographics?


Gendered Citation: another case study December 17, 2013

Filed under: gender,gender inequality,women in philosophy — magicalersatz @ 1:48 pm

Following up on previous discussion, I wanted to do another brief ‘case study’ of gendered citation. So I picked up, at random, a recent issue of an elite philosophy journal. (And yes, it really was at random.) Here’s what I found.

There are three papers in the issue. All are by men.

One paper’s reference list contains approximately 30 items. There are no items by women cited.

Another paper’s reference list contains approximately 70 items. Things look better here – there are 11 items by women cited. Interestingly, though, 10 of the 11 citations to work by women are citations to women employed in linguistics departments. There is only 1 cited item by a woman employed in a philosophy department. This citation is in a footnote, pointing the reader to a separate debate.

The final paper’s reference list contains approximately 20 items. There is 1 item by a woman cited. When you examine the reference in the text, however, the reader is actually being directed to a male philosopher’s discussion (‘see Mr. X’s discussion of Ms. Y’), and the work written by a woman is simply cited in passing.

There is nowhere in any of these (quite lengthy) papers where the work of female philosophers is discussed in any detail. In the entire issue, there are only two references to female philosophers, and these are both made in passing.

Again, there’s a limited amount we can learn from a citation snapshot like this. (Though watch this space – we’re hoping to have some more numbers about gender and citation up soon.) But it’s striking that female philosophers could be so absent from the discussion in a top journal – even a single issue of a top journal. And I wouldn’t be surprised (though we’ll have to wait for more data) to learn that the particular issue I picked up isn’t exactly an egregious outlier when it comes to gendered citation.


Women in Media in 2013 December 5, 2013

Some progress, but a lot of room for positive change.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,314 other followers