November 30, 2007

Women are not earing more philosophy Ph.Ds

This is disappointing: despite the fact that, in 2004, women earned one-third of philosophy Ph.Ds, in 2006 they earned only 28.6%. In 2000, the number was 28.4%. Furthermore, in 2006, women earned just over 50% of doctorates in the life sciences and humanities, nearly 60% of doctorates in the social sciences, and less than 30% and about 20%, respectively, in the physical sciences and engineering.

In short, with respect to gender diversity, philosophy is more like physics than history.

The historical data are even more depressing. In 1976, women earned more than 30% of all doctorates in the humanities, and roughly 26% of all doctorates in the social sciences. So philosophy is three full decades of diversification behind our sister disciplines.

This is simply appalling.

We had a very respectable job talk this afternoon from an ethicist just finishing her dissertation at Harvard. I think she's a strong candidate for one of our open lines, and not just because the dean is threatening to take away some of our lines if we don't hire more people who aren't white men. And yet it would be rather generous to call the attendance by the faculty for her talk `sparse'.

They might have skipped her talk because she's female, or because she's South Asian-American, or because she's an ethicist. Frankly, I don't think it matters what the reasons were, either implicit and explicit. How can they even pretend to fairly decide between today's speaker and our two other applicants if they don't go to the damn talks? Given the extreme underrepresentation of both women and South Asians in Anglophone philosophy, I think there was an especially strong obligation to attend her talk so as to give her all due consideration.


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed to see this sort of (unprofessional) speculation from a graduate student in our department.

Noumena said...

Could you be more specific about what's unprofessional and speculative in this post?

Andrew M. Bailey said...

If you're going to speculate about reasons for not attending, at least include this one: the talk was given at the end of the semester.

Noumena said...

To quote myself, `Frankly, I don't think it matters what the reasons were, either implicit and explicit.'

Andrew M. Bailey said...

If that's true, I wonder why you mentioned the reasons in the first place... =P

Noumena said...

Fairly obviously, because I believe them to be the operative ones for many people. But that doesn't mean that they matter.