|Researchers have found that philosophy’s gender gap gradually increases as students progress from first year to majoring and into graduate school. By analysing enrolments in philosophy units at Australian universities from 2005 to 2017, I argue that early interventions are likely to be more effective than typically assumed. My findings are consistent with previous data but improve on previous analyses in a few ways. First, this paper quantifies women’s risk of leaving philosophy relative to men at each point throughout their studies and confirms women’s relative risk of leaving philosophy is much higher than men’s throughout all of their undergraduate studies. Second, this paper shows there is a large pool of women who leave philosophy after taking only one unit and argues studies or interventions which focus on students closer to graduating may miss this group of women. Third, this paper argues interventions aimed at this group of women could be more effective at reducing our discipline’s gender gap than later interventions, because a much lower rate of uptake is needed. Trials aimed at identifying effective interventions may also be easier to conduct than we typically assume. I also identify four kinds of interventions that are worth trying, based on evidence from studies on gender gaps in STEM fields. These include having more role models for female students, exposing girls to philosophy from a younger age, boosting female students’ sense of belonging, and expanding the scope of careers that we market to students as possible with a philosophy major.
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Philosophy’s Undergraduate Gender Gaps and Early Interventions
Demographic Data, Documentation, Faculty, Tenure Track, Gender, Interventions, Journal Article, Methodological and Content Diversity, Pedagogical Practices, Quantitative Data, Student Recruitment and Retention