Feminist Philosophers Blog: Impact on the Field?

In May 2007 Feminist Philosophers launched with this:

"Who we are and what we do"

We’re a group of feminist philosophers. For a long time now, we’ve been sending each other stuff that is relevant to feminist philosophy, with brief commentary. Now we’ve decided this is too much fun/too infuriating (depending on nature of aforementioned stuff) to keep to ourselves.

It has now closed down. I started graduate school in 2006, and the blog was, for me, a crucial educational resource. I still talk about the importance of having a critical mass of 30% women (see also this more recent article). And, in fact, we seem to have reached that critical mass when it comes to PhD graduates, at least according to the APDA data.

What's more, the proportion of women among current students is 37%. While I don't have data on the proportion of women among current graduate students over time, it may be that the proportion of women in philosophy is finally starting to reach equity.

In contrast, Eric Schwitzgebel and I found the proportion of women graduates in the SED data to have stalled at around 27-8% since the 1990s, but those data end in 2014. In that data set, 2007 is a low point after which the proportion seems to creep upward (see the polynomial best fit line for the SED data, below). It is possible that Feminist Philosophers had an impact here.

Followers of this project will know that women graduates have a higher likelihood of permanent academic placement than men graduates. It's not clear that this was always the case. Our data is less complete for graduates 2012 and earlier, but in our dataset this seems to be true only after around 2010. Interestingly, this also appears to be true of "non-white" graduates (self-selected race category of American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Two or More Races; note that the fact that both white and non-white proportions are higher than for men and women is due to the fact that we only have race information for those who take the survey, and it appears that this group has a higher placement rate).

It is possible that here, too, Feminist Philosophers had an impact. I am currently on a flight back home to California from a fellowship at ANU—this post is the result of an idea I had while napping mid-flight—so I don't plan to get further into the weeds on this today or anytime soon (I am going to be returning home to a number of projects that were on hold during the fellowship). But I thought it worth noting that, minimally, Feminist Philosophers had a big impact on my life, and I suspect on the lives of many others in philosophy.