Dialectica statistics: 12% of submissions by women

From Philipp Blum (see comments on his related post on Daily Nous):

Dialectica, funded in 1947 by Gaston Bachelard, Paul Bernays and Ferdinand Gonseth, is a general philosophy journal published by Blackwell-Wiley. It is edited in Switzerland, publishes predominantly systematic and theoretical philosophy and aims to become the best journal on the European Continent. Since 2000, it practices double-blind refereeing and blind editing. We have recently updated our submission statistics (since 2000) and would like to share the following information, of possible interest to the feminist community:

– In 2013, we published 28 articles and a total of 611 pages (549 excluding commissioned book reviews),
– Of 298 articles submitted in 2013, 34 were accepted, which gives an acceptance rate of 11.41 %.
– Our turn-around time is reasonably quick (median of 3 months) and our backlog is small (currently accepted papers are published in 4/2014).
– Currently, about 12% of our submissions are authored by women.  This has been constant over the last 14 years and is surprising and worrying. What could explain this fact? What should be done about it?

(The acceptance rate of female submissions in 2013 (16%), however, is higher than the one of male submissions (14%). This has also been constant over the last 14 years.)

According to Sally Haslanger, in 2013 31.4% of philosophy PhDs in the US were earned by women. According to Kathryn Norlock, as many as 21% of employed philosophers in the US are women. The BPA-SWIPUK report for 2008-2011 says that in the UK 29% of philosophy PhDs were completed by women and that they are 24% of permanent staff.

The full statistics are available here:

6 thoughts on “Dialectica statistics: 12% of submissions by women

  1. I’m glad Dialectica has made these data available. One important note is that 72% of Dialectica submissions come from outside the US and 52% come from outside the US and UK. Therefore, we’d need data on the percentage of employed philosophers who are women in many other countries in order to determine just how underrepresented women are in Dialectica.

  2. thanks for your comment; that is certainly a factor. I do not know of any statistics for other European countries, except the UK and Switzerland. The latter I did myself, based on the official degree statistics of the government:
    In 2010, 22% (6 of 27) of Swiss philosophy PhDs were awarded to women.

  3. Thanks for the update. I think the extra data on women in other countries would help get at an important intersectional category (women plus nationality). If it turns out that women in the US/UK are underrepresented in Dialectica, but women in some other country (e.g., South Africa or Israel) are well represented, then maybe those other countries have something useful they’re doing that can be applied elsewhere.

  4. Baseline rates of percentage of female philosophers in Europe are useful, but I am not sure they can explain the underrepresentation of female philosophers submitting to dialectica. The new general journal Ergo also provides statistics and states “We estimate that 15% of submitting authors were women, 85% men.” – unlike with dialectica, the proportion of women’s contributions that is accepted is smaller than that of male authors: of all 12 papers that received a revise decision, all authors were male. The journal uses a triple-anonymous review system.
    From the editor of Mind, we hear that about 10% of submissions are from women (this info is a couple of years old see link below for source), but only 6% of accepted papers are from women. Again, the proportion of accepted papers for women is lower than it is for men. At the time, Mind’s editor was aware of the (probable) gender of the submitters of these papers.
    Philosophical Quarterly keeps a record of the gender of people who submit to their journal, but I was unable to find any data they have collected.
    So what can we conclude from these scattered data? Women might be proportionally more successful in getting papers accepted in dialectica, but not in Mind or Ergo. But in all journals from which I could find data – by this I don’t mean self-reported data, which aren’t very reliable – women seem to submit fewer papers than men, even taking into account their representation in the profession.
    Perhaps this is because women are less likely to be employed in research-intensive positions such as postdocs (see Carolyn’s data), or prestigious universities, and more represented along the ranks of teaching-intensive departments.


  5. Something’s fishy in the numbers. The “overall acceptance rate” for 2013 is reported to be 11.41%. But the acceptance rate for women is 16%, and the acceptance rate for men is 14% (also for 2013, apparently, though these ratios are “constant”). Is there a sizable third group with acceptance rates lower than 11.41%? (How sizable?!) How could these numbers all describe the same data set?

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