UPDATE: Owners of the new blog we criticize below have responded very positively to remarks made by several people, and an effort is being made to make the list of contributors more diverse. The details of the effort are described below in the comments; congratulations are due to those below and to Choice and Inference.
And I admit it: “unconscionable” (in the main body) might have been a bit strong. However, while women are being allowed access to more fields, their progress is delayed when people act on old assumptions. All of us who care about this should consider taking action. As one commentor points out below, there are important issues about who the knower is; there are solid reasons for thinking a diversity of knowers enriches a field, in addition to being more just.
Of course, many of our readers know all this!
How many women do formal epistemology and decision theory? If you look at the new blog, Choice and Inference, the answer appears to be: One.
Whatever the reason, it presumably does show that the list owners are unaware of the negative effects of such exclusivity. And yet they probably have women students and even advise women on their careers. One does despair. How can they look around and not notice the extent to which the women are missing? (My guess to the answer is not happy; I suspect in many cases, they really do think women can’t be as good as they are.)
So let’s get a bit explicit: The first “here” above links to a conference, photos of which suggest strongly there were more young women in the audience than there were women speakers (even though the women speakers far outnumber those on the blog). But the list makes it clear: when you think of getting people together for an extended chat, you think of the guys.
And the women probably know that; it may well be on their list of very unpleasant features of their field, along with harassment of various awful sorts. (Believe me, when women are talking in these small clusters at conferences where nearly all the speakers are men, they are NOT talking about what an honor it is to be allowed to hear the guys. Despite all the negative messages that women are given, almost all of us have figured out that the situation is deeply unjust.)
All sorts of research strongly suggests that in formal fields women are having a much harder time than their male colleagues, and a major reason is the exclusivity that men enact. Shockingly difficult though it is for women in formal fields in the States, a lot of research suggests the problems are worse in other places, including many European countries. It is, in my opinion, unconscionable to act out the exclusivity in public forums like this.
Now, they do ask that people interested in joining them as commentators send an email. We must hope some of the missing women do. And I hope they don’t have my experience in a comparable position: email twice ignored. (A woman’s name? Probably unsuitable.) But many women in the field, if they are anything like women in other formal fields, will already know the reception is unlikely to be friendly.
I’d recommend that the blog owners look at some of the names readily available on the web and send out explicit invitations. And an addition to the blog to the effect that the blog strongly supports inclusivity would be a good idea.