Reader query: women in continental philosophy

A reader has contacted me, noting that analytic philosophers often imagine continental philosophy to be much friendlier to women, but that women continental philosophers often report very bad experiences.  She’s wondering– and I am too– if there is any good source of information on the situation for women specifically in continental philosophy.

4 thoughts on “Reader query: women in continental philosophy

  1. One problem might be that continental philosophy is often the specialty of Catholic universities.
    I know many woman-friendly Catholic universities, but also, some of them are decidedly woman-unfriendly.
    For instance, the one I am working for has a very bad climate for women. An abysmal number of women faculty members (only 1 in the over 20 faculty members, despite several appointments in the last years), no mentoring or support for female postdocs and graduate students. And the faculty members frequently make sexist jokes in the classroom, making female students feel very uncomfortable.

  2. SPEP has a committee on the status of women.

    One hard stat to check: SPEP breaks acceptance rates down by gender, and it always seems more competitive for submissions by women (more submissions, narrower margin of acceptance). This is always reported in the minutes for the annual business meeting.

    It is my experience that “continental” philosophy can be just as bro-centric and hostile to women as as “analytic” is. The climate can sometimes be WORSE precisely because the men THINK they are so much more feminist and less misogynist than their analytic counterparts. It is also worth nothing that the Goswami v DePaul suit happened in a continental program, and that other continental departments have difficulty recruiting and retaining women of color (to put things charitably). OTOH, some continentalish programs have been a relatively welcoming space for black feminist philosophy and black women philosophers….

    So really what I’m arguing is that there might be more women and more women of color in continental, but this does not necessarily translate to a better climate, less misogyny, harassment, etc.

  3. Work done and being done by George Yancy, Linda Alcoff, and related would be helpful for some aspects of this question.

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