A-Level Philosophy and Gender: some excellent news

There’s great news about the A-Level Philosophy syllabus, that deserves to be widely shared.  The BPA has worked hard to ensure an improved representation of women philosophers: there are now two women among the required authors for every one of the topics covered.  The BPA writes:


We raised concerns about the absence of women in the initial draft of the subject content and have worked closely with other stakeholders to ensure that the work of women is necessarily represented in any and every qualification for AS/A-level philosophy.  We were pleased that our concerns were accepted immediately and heartened by the willingness of all stakeholders to work closely with us to address them.

The subject content sets out the minimum requirements for any qualification and we welcome and are committed to supporting further work to ensure that the content of AS/A-levels in philosophy fully represents the diversity we see in our field.

The women philosophers in the DfE subject content demonstrate both that women have always been engaged in philosophy and provides schools and colleges with the opportunity to consider why they are less well-known than their male counterparts.  There are also up-to-date works by women who are high profile and active in their fields.

We are pleased that there are now eight women philosophers whose work must be studied by any student taking an A-level in philosophy, with the work of four women being studied by students taking AS.

Importantly, this is NOT the Philosophy and Ethics A-Level.  That is actually (as I understand it) the very misleading name for the Religious Studies A-Level.  It doesn’t contain any women at all, and there is quite rightly a petition about this.  (I was confused about this myself until this morning.)