Inside Higher Ed, on Women in Philosophy

An excellent article. Although the title would suggest that it’s just about the NewAPPS discussion of shunning harassers, it’s much more. It discusses the What is it Like blog, the under-representation of women, and the Gendered Conference Campaign as well. There are also nice interviews with Mark Lance and Peggy DesAutels. It’s wonderful to see broader attention to these issues.

15 thoughts on “Inside Higher Ed, on Women in Philosophy

  1. The article CERTAINLY didn’t do justice to the wonderful work done here at this blog, and by you, Jender, in particular, when you started the “what is it like” blog. But all of you deserve our sincere thanks and admiration! And it’s great to have outspoken men on board (Mark, John and Eric are all very outspoken :) ), so that it’s not only a matter of women ‘nagging about unimportant issues’. I added a post now on the victim’s perspective, which is something that the original post did not have.

  2. Thanks, Catarina. I’ll admit that I*did* find it a little frustrating to think that all those horrible stories on What is it Like weren’t enough to get media attention till some men started speaking up. But I worried that would be misinterpreted: I’m glad the men are speaking up, and I’m glad there’s attention being called to these issues. Those are the things that matter.

  3. Jender, it *is* frustrating, but it *is* how things are for now (which only goes on to show the pervasiveness of the very things we keep talking about). But it’s happening now, and that’s the main thing.

    The key thing to get things going in the philosophy profession is to be mentioned at Leiter’s blog, again just a (sad) fact, nothing that can be done about it, so it was great that he linked the post on his blog. We had 5.000 hits yesterday, mostly post-Leiter.

  4. No, actually that’s not enough. What is it Like got an approving link from Leiter, and 10,00 hits/day for quite a while, and we still didn’t get the press. This blog has also had some links from Leiter.

  5. Yes, you are right :(
    But I think one aspect that plays a role, from the point of view of the media, is the anonymity factor. Of course, you all have very good reasons to write anonymously here, but from the point of view of a newspaper or other media outlets, they need names to have a story. Not for nothing they went straight on to call Mark Lance.

  6. Yes, that may well be right. And it’s a much nice thought than the alternative one that they didn’t notice till men complained.

  7. I think the higher ed article is confirming, but I suspect that the fact that thousands of readers have gone to Jender’s post on avoiding gendered conferences will have more practical importance. Still, maybe its getting into the press is going to give the problem more reality for some.

    I’m not sure, btw, the press needs names; there are political blogs that get a lot of attention despite the fact that the user names are typically inventions.

  8. Whatever. as if shunning is some intellectual concept which is ‘containing’ and ‘bringing a new direction’ to the ‘issue’. As if the ‘informed’ response is to say I am a child and cannot produce a response to a harassment situation so i choose behavior ‘more’ directly related to your behavior and sort of walk around in the issue as a display and clue of my intellectual opinion. i’m not sure if this whole thing has been described in a way where i care.

  9. The lack of women in powerful academic roles is starting to get embarrassing for philosophy, and rightly so. I’m in favor of shunning. But the best remedy is having more women in positions of power in the field, either with respect to their reputation as researchers or their official positions. Then the harassers and the other encouragers of the chilly climate won’t feel like they can act with impunity. When will the research departments on the Leiter list cop on to the fact that having, say, only 2 women on a faculty of 20 or only one or two tenured women in a department of 10 or more is a problem?

  10. I’m not sure what leads the ‘Academic’ into pursuing Issue thought, but in viewing the presented issue, it seems that some of the promise of Academia comes along with it. And why exactly is this since the Issue is often produced with faint description and without separation of the Real and the hypothetical. What I think the answer is is that the Issue such as harassment or Race or Gender is actually produced WITH structure and is something structural which the student might consider. But really the Issue being presented in the foreground of little or no activity in the Academic field really differs the reality that Academics is present and is a ‘World’ – when it’s not – puts forth that the reality of Academics is more in these Issues than in a Study or practice… This all coming a little bit poorly when perhaps the more pertinent question might be – What is Academics?

  11. It was great seeing the Inside Higher Ed discussion but what I found particularly disheartening were some of the comments following the Inside Higher Ed article.

  12. JJ– I guess what I think is so valuable about attention from IHE (and Gawker) is that they reach outside the usual philosophical and feminist audience. (I shouldn’t have said ‘press’ was the issue as it’s not.) I like to think that folks will start to be embarrassed by people saying “gosh, your field really has a problem.”

    Sophia– comments are often pretty demoralising, yes.

  13. Jender, I have a deep sense that publicity of that leads to change, but I’m not sure that’s true. At the same time, I think the gendered conference campaign has gotten a lot of people interested in changing, if for nothing else than to avoid being publicly cited.

    One reason I’m not sure it’s true is because of all the publicity the situation of women in science had, which led to little change until some administrations (at, e.g., MIT) and then the NSF took some responsibility. Ditto the military, priests, etc. Perhaps we’ll get some administrators doing more, but one could see the shunning idea as reflecting the fact that the discipline lacks any powerful, centralized agent of change and/or funding.

    Sophia, the comments were bad, but I thought Mark Lance has some good and telling responses.

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