BPA/SWIP 2021 Report on Women in Philosophy in the UK

Author(s)Helen Beebee; Jennifer Saul
AbstractThe BPA/SWIP report in 2011 (Beebee & Saul 2011) was the first ever report on women in philosophy in the UK. We are pleased to say that the ten years since then have seen an enormous and international upsurge in efforts to improve gender diversity in philosophy. In the UK, our focus, the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme was instituted in 2014 and has now been adopted by some 28 UK philosophy departments and 13 learned societies (along with their associated journals), as well as a handful of overseas departments and societies. In 2015, Athena SWAN was extended to non-STEM subjects, offering an additional programme to help philosophy departments with these issues. And SWIP UK now has a longrunning mentoring scheme for women in philosophy.

Although the 2011 report and the guidelines just mentioned focus on gender, we recognise that gender diversity cannot be addressed without attention to intersecting categories such as race, disability, and class. Minorities and Philosophy, with 19 chapters in the UK at last count, takes this point as foundational to its efforts. The BPA and SWIP have issued guidelines for accessible conferences and public lectures, and are working on a survey on race in philosophy in the UK. There is an enormous amount more to be done in this area, and we are currently falling short.

In this follow-up report, we again focus primarily on gender. We highlight some of the various initiatives that have emerged in the last ten years, and we give a brief overview of the vast amount of research that has been conducted on the underrepresentation of women in philosophy since 2011 (including work on intersectional oppression). We also present new data. The data show that there have been improvements across the board. On the other hand, they also reveal that we are
still a long way from gender parity; at the current rate of progress it would take at least another 50 years to achieve parity at PhD student level, and 20 years to achieve parity at permanent staff level—though the latter is of course unlikely to occur unless there is a significant increase in the rate of progress of the former.
Institution/SocietyBritish Philosophical Association and the Society for Women in Philosophy UK
Date Published November 2021
Page Count25

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.