Tania Lombrozo has a great post at NPR about the underrepresentation of women in philosophy. She focuses on recent work by Toni Adleburg, Morgan Thompson, and Eddy Nahmias that surveys the affect of gender on responses to intro philosophy courses (since, statistically, the biggest drop off in women’s participation in philosophy comes between intro-level courses and declaring a philosophy major – at least in the US).
Overall, female students found the course less enjoyable and the material less interesting and relevant to their lives than male students. Compared to male students, they also felt that they had less in common with typical philosophy majors or with their instructors, reported feeling less able and likely to succeed in philosophy, were less comfortable participating in class discussions and were less inclined to take a second philosophy course or to major in philosophy. (Interestingly, however, they didn’t anticipate receiving lower grades.)