Women in various subdisciplines of philosophy

Important new research from Eric Schwitzgebel and Carolyn Dicey Jennings.


We leave speculation on causes and possible remedies to others. However we emphasize four features of our findings that might be especially relevant to policy:

A. Journal editors and conference organizers in ethics should not assume that a proportion of women consistent with the proportion in philosophy as a whole (say, in the low 20%’s) is representative of the proportion of available philosophers in ethics.

B. Although the gender disparity in philosophy is large, it is even larger outside of ethics than it is in ethics. Non-ethics fields might be in even more need of intervention than would appear to be the case looking at the numbers in philosophy as whole.

C. Although the younger generation appears to be closer to gender parity and ethics is somewhat closer to gender parity than other subfields, ethics remains far from gender parity in junior hiring; and it remains the case that the vast majority of authors of ethics articles in elite Anglophone journals are men.

D. If it is true that the 20th-century trend toward less gender disparity has slowed or stopped, then current practices to encourage gender parity might not be enough to ensure further progress toward that aim, and more assertive action might be required.

2 thoughts on “Women in various subdisciplines of philosophy

  1. This is very interesting, but I have a question about whether the analysis really pertains to ‘analytic’ philosophy, since I’m unclear to what extent ‘mainstream Anglophone’ = ‘analytic’. The authors include ‘traditions’ which includes ‘continental’ (if I understand rightly), so it seems then that continental philosophy is included, although I find it slightly jarring for it to constitute a sub-area in that way rather than a set of traditions within which people just as with analytic philosophers work on such topics as epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, etc. But then later it’s said regarding the inadequacy of the usual search engines that the most cited philosophers – Foucault, Derrida, Butler – have had their main influence outside philosophy. But presumably in that last case ‘philosophy’ means ‘analytic’? I ask these questions because I would love to know how far the gender inequity in philosophy also obtains within continental philosophy. Sometimes it seems to me to be just as bad, sometimes better.

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