Monday, January 07, 2008

More gender exclusion

Since looking at the figures for women's unequal participation in philosophy and realizing that they haven't improved in two decades, I've been noticing places where women's participation is even less than the 20% that is typical for the field. And I've been wondering why this doesn't strike many of my colleagues as odd and even indefensible in the 21st century.

Today I got a flyer in my mailbox for the journal PHILO, which is the journal of The Society for Humanist Philosophers and is published by the Center for Inquiry in Amherst (Buffalo-area), NY. Although I was unaware of the journal, I am immediately favorably disposed to a journal that "examines philosophical issues from an explicitly naturalist perspective," since naturalism is a central commitment of this blog's contributors.

But I was shocked to glance over the editorial board and to see that out of 39 philosophers, only 3 are women! Surely more than 7.5% of naturalists are women! This ratio of men to women continues when I look at the contributors to the journal. It is typical that an issue will publish work by about 8 authors, all of them men.

What is the explanation? Is this just how social networks work? Are women in philosophy concentrated in some disciplines--and not in naturalist epistemology? Are women less represented on editorial boards in general?

I'm surprised, too, because the people that I know on this particular editorial board are open-hearted and fair-minded pragmatists, supportive of their women colleagues. One of them, Peter Hare, just passed away in the last week, and I will remember him with fondness. Memorials have been written here and here.


Anonymous said...

I write about feminist philosophy too. but in Persian language. Be success

Evelyn Brister said...

Maryam, good luck with all of your endeavors as well!
Here in the US, philosophy is one of the smallest disciplines, but I believe that advancing philosophy is valuable to the sciences and to social progress.