September 25, 2007


This is months old, but in my internet wanders I just stumbled across a summary of a meeting of the APA (that's the American Philosophical Association) Committee on the Status of Women and Inclusiveness. There are lots of interesting numbers and theories, and it all makes me rather sad and frustrated with the spectacular backwardness of my discipline. From the conclusion of the post:

The session ended with some "anecdata". Haslanger mentioned (among other things) that she had once been told that she ought to stick to history on the grounds that women ought to reproduce the ideas of men (and keep their own to themselves), that she had been told that she ought to get tested to see whether she was in fact a man (given her success), that people would laugh when she told them that she did metaphysics (would anyone ever laugh at a man?), and so on. The audience (including a female undergraduate student) had similar stories to report about the current climate in the philosophy profession.

In conclusion: the joint session made it exceedingly clear that despite efforts made (under the names of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action) to prevent all forms of discrimination against women in academia (and elsewhere), many departments continue to tolerate discriminatory practices in graduate admissions, interviewing, hiring, promotion, article acceptance and invitation.

I'm not sure if Philosophy-Notre Dame is guilty here. But we clearly have a lot of trouble attracting and keeping female grad students and faculty. That's certainly not a good sign.

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