Our friend, Eric Switzgebel, has posted some revealing figures about women in philosophy. In studying philosophers’ voting patters, he and his collaborator gathered a lot of data about philosophers. Though the sample was just 5 states, they covered them very thoroughly. In addition, there were age data for philosophers in 4 states.
They’ve reused the figures to look at men’s and women’s comparative progress in the profession. Switzgebel concludes that the record shows women move through the profession more slowly than men.
Another dismal fact emerges; the comparative perceptage of non-TT positions women occupy. For those young women with birth dates ranging from 1970-1979, 36% are in non-TT positions! That’s compared with 13% of the guys.
Switzgebel mentions an obvious factor which may slow women’s progress: marriage and/or children. In addition, women are more often “the trailing spouse” in the sciences, and this might well apply in philosophy also. Of course, we need to be careful not to conclude that sexism isn’t operating. Not only may it still be at work at a number of junctures, including what makes a male partner a hotter property on the market, but also there’s the institutional sexism of the university and college structures that are still geared to male biological lives more than female.
So thanks, Eric! For the study!