Sunday, July 02, 2006

Women and Blogging

Via Feministe, a report that half of US-based bloggers are women. I'm not sure if this is news, since Women's E-news reported nearly the same thing almost two years ago.

But if half of bloggers are women, why isn't there parity in the academic blogosphere? And specifically, why are so few authors and contributors to philosophical blogs women?

A brief survey of some philosophy group blogs shows that the percentage of female contributors is lower, even, than women's representation in the profession, which by most counts is somewhere between 20 and 25%:
PEA Soup has--what?--one female contributor out of 20.
Certain Doubts has a representation of about 13% women among its dozens of contributors.
Experimental Philosophy has one female contributor out of 22.
The Garden of Forking Paths has two out of 38.
Prosblogion, with none.

This is not to say that women philosophers are absent:
Janet Stemwedel's Adventures in Ethics and Science is not only philosophical, but also sometimes takes on gender issues.
The Women's Bioethics Blog is a collaboration between bioethicists, philosophers, and medical practitioners.

A possible explanation for the disparity, suggested by Laurie Shrage, is that since many bloggers are in the junior faculty stage of their careers, this absence says something about the pressures women are under. Another possible explanation is that group blogs, in particular, reflect social networking in philosophical subfields, and some of those networks are relatively closed to women.

This issue calls for more investigation, and in particular it raises questions about whether blogging helps or distracts from academic work. Stay tuned for blogger interviews.

1 comment:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I noticed the absence of women as well. The people I know from grad school who are also involved in group blogs are all men and tend to be in the overall category of 'pretentious philosophy boy' - the ones who aren't necessarily briliant but are very sure that they ARE brilliant, thus everone wants to hear what they have to say.