Gender Composition of Scholarly Publications by Field

This is a wonderful resource. Looking up philosophy on the linked page, I found that women were only 9.4% of authors of scholarly publications in philosophy. But then I realised that the date range was 1665-2011. Surely the earlier centuries explained that low percentage. So I clicked on 1990-2011, expecting much higher. And, well it was higher. By 3%. Yup. We’re still only at 12%. (UDPATE: Sorry, did I see 3% increase? It’s only 2.6.)

5 thoughts on “Gender Composition of Scholarly Publications by Field

  1. I have been thinking about this issue lately. I got a content alert email for the latest issue of Noûs and was immediately struck by the fact that there were ten articles by eleven authors, all of whom were men.

    I then had a quick look at the latest issues of some other general philosophy journals and found a couple of others that seem noteworthy:

    Analysis 73 (3) – 14 articles by 18 authors, one of whom is a woman
    Philosophical Studies 165 (1) – 17 articles by 18 authors, one of whom is a woman

    Obviously I am not drawing any conclusions from this, as we would need a lot more data to know whether this is representative, or a blip, as well as to to work out what the causes are. But one interesting thing to note is that the editorial boards of all of those journals are heavily populated with men too…

  2. I was so shocked by this number. How would we account for what’s going on? It is depressing.

  3. Depressing in so many ways…for example, depressing that the decades go by and the percentages don’t appreciably change, depressing that even with the shockingly low percentage of women in philosophy, the publication percentages are worse…

  4. So, this seems to be a good place to note something … odd .. that occurred to me recently. A reviewer’s comments (addressed to the editor) included this: “she (I gather the author is female).”

    That really bothered me. Do I have a ‘female’ style? My topic certainly was not anything one might think of as being especially or only of interest to ‘females.’ I’ve actually put the piece aside for several months, now, because I was so thrown by that remark.

  5. Some data was presented at the Sheffield Bias Conference (Litman and Zelcer) to the effect that there are somewhat reliable ways to determine (with a margin of error) what gender the author of an article is. One big worry is when this is implicit, and can thus trigger strong implicit biases. There was no evidence that content played a role in people’s ability to attribute author gender. People were able to properly attribute gender 63% of the time and 75% of the attributions were based on intuition.

    Scary stuff.

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