About the APA: “Whose names did you hear?”

And if you didn’t go to the APA, you might think about recent conferences, department discussions, books, etc.

The title comes from that of a post on What is it like to be a Women in Philosophy.  The author remarks:

It seems that when male philosophers propose theories, even very implausible ones, they are given weight in the way that women doing the same simply are not. In my field for example, I have proposed something like a theory of X. Now there are male philosophers who are also working on problems related to X, whose names one hears constantly, who regularly appear on lists of plenary speakers at meeting related to X, whose names then get attached to theories, which people then write about etc. But I can only think of one woman whose ideas are discussed in the literature. And this is not a small field…

Male philosophers seem to enter “the discussion,” if not the canon; women philosophers rarely do.

There is a similar post a little more recent than this one, A Powerful, Subtle Way to Exclude Women.

Each post points to a possibly very wide-spread practice.  In fact, I would say it definitely is one.  If so, it is one of those injustices that those who experience may see much more clearly than those who benefit from it do.   Mitigating its effects is also part of the motivation of the gendered conference campaign (see the pages above). 

So what did you hear at the APA or elsewhere recently?  Is the practice widespread? Do uou think it is unjust?  Damaging?  And is it part of what leads women to leave the field?  After all, if it is widespread, it also carries information about who is not likely to succeed in the field.  On realizing what happens to women’s work, one might well think that succeeding in the field should not matter in one’s life.

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