Diversity in Philosophy

Women and minorities are seriously underrepresented in philosophy: According to recent data, women make up only about 21% of professional philosophers, and only 17% of full time faculty. Minorities make up only 11% of full time faculty and less than 9% of part time faculty. And professional philosophy has so few minority women in full time positions that the above data sets do not even include numbers on them.

Why this is a problem: Underrepresentation indicates that these groups do not have equal opportunities; underrepresentation also makes discrimination and harassment against these groups more likely. Moreover, this is also a problem for the quality of work in the field, since underrepresented groups bring new perspectives with them which transform our understanding of many different issues in the field; when philosophy is demographically homogeneous, philosophy itself suffers.

What can be done about this: It is widely believed that these trends will change on their own, but this is not how positive social change happens. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability.” Nor is it enough to simply not be sexist, racist, transphobic, and so on. On the contrary: counteracting marginalization means taking active measures to reach out to and include members of these groups. Here are some resources for information on the marginalization of underrepresented groups in philosophy, and what can be done to help:

1. Two brief primers, written by me, on Implicit Bias and Stereotype Threat.

2. The APA Committee on the Status of Women.

3. What It’s Like To Be a Woman In Philosophy.

4. The Feminist Philosophers blog (now closed, but with valuable archives).

5. Minorities and Philosophy (MAP).

6. This Is What a Philosopher Looks Like.