New data on the representation of women in philosophy journals: 2004–2015

Abstract

This paper presents new data on the representation of women who publish in 25 top philosophy journals as ranked by the Philosophical Gourmet Report (2015) for the years 2004, 2014, and 2015. It also provides a new analysis of Schwitzgebel’s 1955–2015 journal data (women-in-philosophy.org). The paper makes four points while providing an overview of the current state of women authors in philosophy. In all years and for all journals, the percentage of female authors was extremely low, in the range of 14–16%. The percentage of women authors is less than the percentage of women faculty in different ranks and at different kinds of institutions. In addition, there is great variation across individual journals, and the discrepancy between women authors and women faculty appears to be different in different subfields. Interestingly, journals which do not practice anonymous review seem to have a higher percentage of women authors than journals which practice double anonymous or triple anonymous review. This paper also argues that we need more data on academic publishing to better understand whether this can explain why there are so few full-time female faculty in philosophy, since full-time hiring and tenuring practices presumably depend on a candidate’s academic publishing.

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Change history

  • 19 June 2017

    An erratum to this article has been published.

Notes

  1. 1.

    We do not take this to be an endorsement of the Leiter Report’s methodology or rankings.

  2. 2.

    For more on the underrepresentation of women at the faculty level, see also Norlock (2006/2011), Haslanger (2008), Van Camp (2004), and Hassoun and Conklin (2015).

  3. 3.

    For more data on the pipeline problem and the pyramidal structure of philosophy see Calhoun (2009), Dodds and Goddard (2013), and Dougherty et al. (2015).

  4. 4.

    An interactive online visualization of the JSTOR network dataset can be accessed at: www.eigenfactor.org/gender/.

  5. 5.

    See Sect. 4.2 for that comparison.

  6. 6.

    Schwitzgebel and Jennings (2016, unpublished) found that in the years 2014 and 2015, the percentage of women authors in Ethics, Philosophical Review, Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Mind was in the range 10–13%. See Schwitzgebel and Jennings (2016, unpublished, p. 19) for a description of the types of articles they analyzed, and the sort of analysis they conducted.

  7. 7.

    As discussed in Sect. 2, Haslanger (2008) found that in seven journals, the percentage of women authors was 12.4%.

  8. 8.

    First, we estimated the percentage of tenured or tenure-track women faculty at PGR ranked programs. Second, we estimated the percentage of all women faculty (tenure-track and non-tenure-track) at PGR ranked programs. Third, we estimated the percentage of tenured or tenure-track women faculty at all programs, PGR ranked and unranked. Fourth, we estimated the percentage of all women faculty at all programs, ranked and unranked. We used data from Hassoun and Conklin (2015). We did not conduct a similar comparison for 2014, because the faculty data for that year are not available. It is expected, however, that 2014 data would be very similar to the data for 2015. Regardless, as described below, we were able to conduct a somewhat similar comparison for 2004.

  9. 9.

    These percentages come from women-in-philosophy.org.

  10. 10.

    Two percentages were calculated for 2004: the percentage of tenured or tenure-track women faculty at PGR ranked programs, and the percentage of tenured and tenure-track women faculty at PGR ranked and unranked programs. No data is available for non-tenure-track PGR ranked and unranked faculty in 2004.

  11. 11.

    Schwitzgebel and Jennings obtained their faculty data from the faculty lists that the PGR editors created while conducting the 2014 PGR survey of philosophy faculty quality. Each faculty member was assigned an area of specialization, and faculty who specialized in multiple areas were classified based on their first listed area of specialization (Schwitzgebel and Jennings 2016, unpublished, p. 6). The areas V, LEMM, H, and S were obtained from the PhilPapers Categorization Project (2016, p. 7).

  12. 12.

    The faculty percentage reported in row ‘G’ is consistent with faculty data reported by Hassoun and Conklin (2015), which provides independent verification of these percentages.

  13. 13.

    The difference was calculated by taking the percentage of faculty in the corresponding journal's area, and subtracting the percentage of women authors in that journal for the years 2014 and 2015 combined.

  14. 14.

    We performed a similar comparison using faculty data collected by Bourget and Chalmers (2014), but we elected not to report those results because there are several reasons for preferring Schwitzgebel and Jennings' data. First, according to Schwitzgebel and Jennings' data, about 24.5% of philosophy faculty are women (see the 'G' row in Table 2). This is consistent with the range of percentages calculated using the author’s (Hassoun and Conklin 2015) data, which were in the range of 22–25% (see Fig. 4). According to Bourget and Chalmers' data, however, about 17.5% of philosophy faculty are women. This is not consistent with the author's (Hassoun and Conklin 2015) data. Nor is it consistent with other reports of the percentage of women faculty in philosophy, such as Norlock’s (2009). Second, Schwitzgebel and Jennings data is from 2014, while Bourget and Chalmers' data is from 2009. So Schwitzgebel and Jennings' data comes from one of the years for which we provide new data on women authors, but Bourget and Chalmers' does not. Third, Schwitzgebel and Jennings' data was collected by examining lists of faculty working at 59 departments in the U.S. ranked by the PGR in 2014 (2016, unpublished). Bourget and Chalmers' data was collected from those who chose to respond to emails (2014, p. 468). So the selection bias in Schwitzgebel and Jennings' data is probably not as severe as the selection bias in Bourget and Chalmers' data.

  15. 15.

    Thanks to an anonymous reviewer for alerting us to this issue.

  16. 16.

    See the discussion in Sect. 2.

  17. 17.

    For instance, see (Norlock 2011), who reports that the percentage of women postsecondary philosophy instructors was 20.69% in 2003. Norlock's figure comes from the National Center for Education Statistics, who gathered data on the total number of full-time and part-time philosophers working in the U.S.

  18. 18.

    When we compare Ethics to Analysis using the West data, we see pretty clearly that women are better represented in Ethics. This, however, is consistent with the data that there is a larger gap between the percentage of women being published and the percentage of women being hired.

  19. 19.

    For more on hiring rates for value theory, see Jennings (2014a, b, 2015a, b).

  20. 20.

    See, for example, Rothman (1990) and Feise (2002).

  21. 21.

    It is somewhat surprising that in the case of non-anonymous review, there were no statistically significant changes in the percentage of women authors from 2004 to 2015. Small sample sizes may again be to blame: the two journals that review articles anonymously published just 61 articles in 2004, and 103 articles in 2015.

  22. 22.

    See http://dailynous.com/2015/01/20/closer-look-philosophy-journal-practices/ for a more complete description of the process, as described by Ethics’ editor Henry Richardson.

  23. 23.

    Thanks to an anonymous reviewer for suggesting these alternative hypotheses.

  24. 24.

    Paxton et al. (2012) report gender parity at the level of introductory philosophy classes and demonstrates a decrease in the percent of women entering the philosophy major. However, there is concern that the reported rate of women’s enrollment in entry-level philosophy classes may be misleading—if such classes fulfill program breadth requirements, then parity between men and women in these classes may be an artifact of those requirements. If so, then we have reason to suppose the pipeline problem begins before introductory philosophy classes at the college level as suggested by Calhoun (2009). For more on the undergraduate pipeline problem in Western academic philosophy, see Goddard, Calhoun (2009), Thompson et al. (2016). For more on the pipeline problem at the graduate level, see Beebee and Saul (2011). For more on the faculty pipeline problem, see Dodds and Goddard (2013), Hassoun and Conklin (2015), and Conklin et al. (2017, unpublished).

  25. 25.

    Similar phenomena exist in the sciences (Sugimoto et al. 2013).

  26. 26.

    As we have seen, the “anonymous” review process at some top journals is not actually anonymous and, so, the editors of these journals should not respond that making exceptions to standard procedures is unfair or violates their rules (it is also possible to change the rules). They can at least make use of existing loopholes in their procedures to advance women’s prospects for publishing in their pages.

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Acknowledgements

We are indebted support provided by the Demographics in Philosophy Project advisory board, with special thanks to Julie Van Camp, Ruth Chang, Tom Dougherty, Edouard Machery, and Eric Schwitzgebel for providing feedback on early drafts. Thanks also to Ben Bronner, Mark Fortney, and Morgan Thompson for helping to collect the data. Finally, we thank Irina Artamonova, Lucio Esposito, Shen-yi Liao, anonymous referees, as well as the editors of Philosophical Studies, for comments on later drafts.

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Correspondence to Sherri Lynn Conklin.

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Wilhelm, I., Conklin, S.L. & Hassoun, N. New data on the representation of women in philosophy journals: 2004–2015. Philos Stud 175, 1441–1464 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-017-0919-0

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Keywords

  • Diversity
  • Philosophy journals
  • Proportions by sub-discipline
  • Influence of review type