Lack of diversity in UK academia, esp. Philosophy

A new report has come out from the ECU, and Helen De Cruz has pulled out some important statistics from it for us:

Some figures for philosophy in this survey, 2016/2017 (N = 1115).
* Only 6.1% of philosophers employed at UK universities are disabled – compare, 16-19% of UK working age adults are disabled.
* 95.2% of philosophers employed in UK universities are white – compare, 81.9% of UK population are white. There are only three non-STEM disciplines with an even whiter faculty. They are sports, history and classics (with around 96% white faculty).
* 70.3% of philosophers employed in UK universities are male. No other non-STEM subject has this low representation of women. To compare, Economics has 29.8% women, Theology has 36.7% women, Sports 36.4% and Politics 37.1%, all these are higher than philosophy, where only 29.7% are women).

The Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers

Janice Albers writes:

The Center for the Study of Women Philosophers and Scientists at Paderborn University in Germany, funded by the Ministry for Innovation, Science & Research, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is happy to announce the Launch of the The Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers! On http://www.hwps.de/ecc you may find open access information about women philosophers who have been omitted from the philosophical canon – up until now. Recognized scholars are sharing their profound expertise in concise articles. Our continuously growing database is searchable by different concepts, philosophers, and keywords.

Help us expand the range of The Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers and the knowledge about forgotten female philosophers by sharing the ECC’s link in social media.

Announcing: SWIP Italia!

Vera Tripodi writes:

After months of hard work, we are delighted to officially announce the foundation of the Italian Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP Italia).
The Steering Committee is composed as follows: Marina Sbisà (President), Vera Tripodi (Vice President), Laura Caponetto (Secretary), Federica Berdini (Treasurer). The Committee also includes: Carla Bagnoli, Claudia Bianchi, Maddalena Bonelli, Francesca Forlè, Elena Pulcini, Roberta Sala, and Ingrid Salvatore.

Thanks to all those who supported and encouraged us throughout the process (in particular Marina Sbisà, Carla Bagnoli, Claudia Bianchi, Clotilde Calabi, and Manuela Manera).

Looking forward to working together!
Federica Berdini (Università di Bologna)
Laura Caponetto (Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano)
Vera Tripodi (Università di Torino)

Similarity and Enjoyment as predictors of women’s continuation in philosophy

 

Abstract

On average, women make up half of introductory-level philosophy courses, but only one-third of upper-division courses. We contribute to the growing literature on this problem by reporting the striking results of our study at the University of Oklahoma. We found that two attitudes are especially strong predictors of whether women are likely to continue in philosophy: (i) feeling similar to the kinds of people who become philosophers, and (ii) enjoying philosophical puzzles and issues. In a regression analysis, they account for 63% of variance. Importantly, women are significantly less likely to hold these attitudes than men. Thus, instructors who care about improving the retention of women undergraduates should find ways to improve these attitudes – for instance, by demonstrating the ways in which professional philosophers are like them. We will discuss some tentative but intuitively plausible suggestions for interventions, though further research is required to establish the effectiveness of those interventions.

The full article is here.

On being reinvigorated by Mary Astell but worn out by the discipline

Regan Penaluna started by loving philosophy. Over time, though, the climate for women in the discipline ground her down. Her self-confidence flagged, and she became one of the quiet students rather than one of the vocal, passionate ones. And then she discovered 17th century rationalist and feminist philosopher, Mary Astell.

Penaluna, now a journalist, has just published a popular account of her ups and downs in philosophy, her love affair with Astell, and her eventual departure from the discipline.

Penaluna’s account of Astell is a great primer on an original thinker who deserves more attention than she gets. But just as illuminating is Penaluna’s account of the slow grind of being a woman in philosophy. Her article offers a glimpse into some of the reasons women leave the profession.

You can read Penaluna’s account here.

Northwestern Graduate Students on Kipnis

The Northwestern Philosophy Graduate Student Association has published an open letter on Kipnis’s book.

Several people, including a graduate student in the department of philosophy at Northwestern University, were recently targeted in a book by Radio, Television and Film faculty member Laura Kipnis. In “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus,” Kipnis constructs a narrative around a series of events — which have been largely centered within our own department — to support her claim that Title IX fosters a sense of sexual paranoia and creates an environment hostile to academic freedom.

In doing so, Kipnis dedicates a chapter of her book to questioning a sexual assault allegation our fellow graduate student brought against a faculty member. Kipnis questions this allegation on the basis of a limited set of evidence, without consulting with our colleague or those close to her to check a number of important details in the case. Moreover, Kipnis reinforces her claims with unsubstantiated speculations. Her construction of the narrative is, as a result, irresponsible. We feel compelled to express how dissonant Kipnis’ retelling of these events is with our first-hand experiences of them and with the people involved in them, and to express our concern for Kipnis’ conduct, both as an author and as a faculty member at NU.

Read on.