CFP: Why are there so few women in philosophy, and (why) does it matter?

Stockholm University, Sweden, April 17-18th, 2015

In most countries there is a lack of gender parity in philosophy as an academic discipline. In fact, philosophy fares much worse in this respect than all other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, and almost all other academic disciplines as well. According to an American study by Paxton et al. (2012), there is a big drop in the proportion of women in philosophy between introductory courses and philosophy majors, resulting in the disappointing fact that women only make up twenty-one per cent of full-time faculty in philosophy in the US. Studies in the UK suggest a similar drop and a similar faculty situation (Saul & Beebee 2011), and there is no reason to believe that the situation is any better at Swedish philosophy departments. In fact, the judgment of Högskoleverket after having inspected all Swedish philosophy departments during 2003/2004 was that philosophy is still “an education by men for men.” In Sweden too, it is still the case that few women students continue to higher level courses, the proportion of women PhD candidates is conspicuously small and very few women philosophers enjoy full time employment at philosophy departments, and are thus to a much larger extent than men dependent on temporary positions.

Recently, the problem of lack of gender parity in philosophy has generated serious attention among several international philosophers, leading to new research – both empirical and theoretical – on the subject. We hereby invite philosophers (of all levels and any gender) interested in the topic to an international workshop hosted by the philosophy department at Stockholm University.

Key note speakers:

· Sally Haslanger (MIT, USA)
· Linda Martín Alcoff (Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Centre, USA)
· Cathrine Felix (Lunds University, Sweden)

Paper proposals should contain no more than 600 words (excluding bibliography), and clearly relate to the aforementioned topic. The deadline is January 12, 2015. Papers are preferably presented in English.

Please send in the following two documents as Word attachments to

Document 1: Your name, first name, email address, institutional address, the title of your abstract.
Document 2: Your paper proposal including bibliography (max. 10 references) and title with all identifying references removed.”

2 thoughts on “CFP: Why are there so few women in philosophy, and (why) does it matter?

  1. I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand (hemisphere?) the dearth of women in philosophy makes it tougher for women in the profession. On the other hand a philosophy degree—or any liberal arts degree—is riskier for women than it is for men. Just looking at B.A.s, men with generic humanities degrees, with decent grades, from respectable colleges, can get decent real world jobs; women without special vocational credentials have a much harder time. Things have improved somewhat, but the bottom line is that women are secretaries until they prove themselves otherwise by getting special vocational credentials—at the very least business degrees. Women have always had to have more education and better qualifications to get the same jobs as their male counterparts. These days every middle class adult has a BA so the additional qualification is a vocational major.

    Most philosophy majors will not get jobs in the profession. Men have a decent fallback position—generic sales and middle management. Women are working without a net.

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