Feminist Philosophers Emeritae

It’s a sign of the successes of feminist philosophy that there is now a significant and growing number of retired feminist philosophers. (And with current economic conditions, more may be retiring early.) Kate Lindeman is urging that we pay some attention to this group, and she’s quite right to do so. While some may be happy to leave their philosophical work behind, others are eager to remain engaged. So we should think about ways to help with this. Kate suggests that we need to:

1. Overcome the PERCEPTION that emerita/ae are no longer part of

2.Provide some vehicles to facilitate integration [practical
things like those we did re: women with children]

3. Offer vehicles for emeritae – especially those not living in
academic oriented communities.

And she has some suggestions for how we could go about doing this:

1. APA and even SWIP, for the most part, have been for ‘currently employed or at least employable’ academic philosophers. We should try to change this.

2. Encourage younger scholars and emeritae to co-author or co-edit, an excellent opportunity for both.

3. Invite emeritae to give papers.

4. Make conferences, etc more accessible to older philosophers who may be constrained by both health and income– web-based events and video links may help here.

5. Publicise that emeritae are welcome– e.g. in the group eligible for travel grants/bursaries.

6. Create a list of emeritae who are interested in speaking at conferences, guest-lecturing, etc.

7. Create a SWIP Emeritae?

8. Do a conference or volume on the issue.

What else can we do? Please brainstorm in the comments! (Thanks to Sally Haslanger and Ann Garry as well as Kate Lindeman.)

11 thoughts on “Feminist Philosophers Emeritae

  1. Bravo to Kate! These are great ideas.

    There were a number of very distinguished emeritae at the Hypatia conference; a SWIP list of these and others would be a good idea, I would have thought.

    I was wondering about this comment: “And with current economic conditions, more may be retiring early.” I thought the standard idea was quite the opposite: retirement savings have been reduced by the decline of the market, so the senior people will be staying on.

  2. jj, i suspect state pensions make a difference to this: it’s not that people are deciding to retire early, so much as that universities are ‘retiring’ staff to save money (and since there’s a state pension, this isn’t so worrying a prospect for the staff involved). -someone correct me if i’m wrong about this, tho…

  3. Yes, I was thinking of people being incentivised/pushed into early retirement to save money for universities.

  4. Is the UK providing incentives for retiring early? Is there a mandatory retirement age still?

    I haven’t seen any discussion of any new incentive programs in the states; perhaps others have? I thought my university offered such a thing, but in fact it turns out to be that you give up tenure and get five years to teach half the amount for half the pay. If one plans on staying research active and on being active in dept matters, it seems to me not a very good deal. Supposing teaching counts for half your pay, you end up with 25% work and 50% less pay.

  5. Create an organization for emeritae to offer mentoring to junior scholars

  6. miriam’s suggestion would kill two birds with one stone: provide a way of keeping women emeritae in the picture, and provide female role models for young women in the profession. what a nice idea!

  7. Love Miriam’s idea! And new communication vehicles [electronic] would be able to connect women no matter where we are living.

    But have no idea how such a thing could/would happen.

    Hmmmm. Might even be a way to mentor undergraduate women who are ‘interested in philosophy’ but whose family, friends, career adviser think it is not practical etc.

    I am thinking that such an organization might also do other things eg.retirement allows travel in off season – would be lovely to travel with other philosophers to places associated with women philosophers. Very different from AARP tour.

    Thanks so much for this discussion.

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