SAP does gender well

… on the same topic as jj’s last post – but more positive news. In the past conferences notable for their absence of female speakers have been held up, and those which have laudably offered a more inclusive programme also heralded. The Society for Applied Philosophy’s recent annual conference, in Leeds, had the following speakers in its plenary sessions:

The Unity of the Virtues
Professor Julia Annas,
University of Arizona

Some strengths of a consequentialist approach to human rights
Dr Elizabeth Ashford
, University of St Andrews

Integrity and Fragmentation
Professor John Cottingham
, University of Reading

Dr Rachel Cooper
, Lancaster University

Virtue Ethics: What Is It, And Why Should Anyone Believe It?
Professor Roger Crisp
, University of Oxford

What is a human right? A question for applied philosophy
Dr John Tasioulas
, University of Oxford

Lies, Damned Lies and Politicians
Professor Susan Mendus
, University of York

 The Political Expression of Forgiveness: Irish Reflections
Professor Nigel Biggar
, University of Oxford

Really good to see high profile women philosophers well-represented!  Credit to the SAP.

What do the following have in common?

Marcel kinsbourne
John Bickle
Andrea Scarantino
Daniel Weiskopf

Well, “Andrea” is actually a man, so they are all men. And that means, of course, that they all meet a necessary condition on being a keynote speaker at a conference! {SNARK ALERT!}

Two of them are also among my most favorite people to see at conferences, so I hardly want to lament their being featured at the 2nd Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Perception, Action, and Consciousness. Still, the area is one in which a lot of women are doing interesting work.

Well, I will write…

Investigating nuns may be fun,

but we should be sad at this one. Women choosing to live with integrity in a way that responds to the present society and aids the needy in their community and the world may face difficulties for just that.

The current investigation by the Vatican is two-fold. One, an apostolic visitation, is something usually done in response to a serious current problem, though none in this case is obvious. The second investigation is a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which has 1,500 members from about 95 percent of women’s religious orders. This investigation was ordered by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

It all sounds ominous. One worries that current nuns’ lives were not always foreseen by agreements entered into many years ago. If so, they may turn out to be untenable. And the nuns disagreeing with Rome on matters such as the male-only celibate priesthood and the acceptability of homosexual sex may be censured.

If any of our readers is in closer touch with what is going on, please let us know what you think.

Schools Asked to Watch for Forced Marriage Signs

UK schools are being given guidance on signs that pupils may be getting forced into unwilling marriages, and are being asked to alert authorities. Now is a key time– as school holidays are approaching, and forced marriages often happen during the holidays. It’s clear from the way the guidance is written that schools are often reluctant to interfere in what they view as cultural or religious traditions. That’s why Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant explains:

“I should make it absolutely clear there is no culture and there is no religion in which forced marriage should be acceptable or indeed is acceptable,” he added.
“I know there are maybe some people who think this is an issue about Islam – it’s not. Islam does not recommend or accept forced marriage. Marriage in every religion has to be freely and openly consented to.”

Jasvinder Singh of Karma Nirvana, a national campaign group against forced marriages, emphasises a similar point:

“This is not something you must be culturally sensitive about,” she said. “This is a child abuse issue, and you must treat it in that way and follow your child protection procedures. Do not turn a blind eye”.

Interestingly, of course, one can agree with Singh and disagree with Bryant. Everything Singh says is true even if there *is* a religion that condones forced marriage. (Which matters, because surely there are at least some small religious sects that condone forced marriages. And there are many more where people, especially women, have few options other than obedience– which arguably counts as forcing.) thanks, Jender-Parents!