Why Is There Female Under-Representation among Philosophy Majors?

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2 (2015)
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Abstract

The anglophone philosophy profession has a well-known problem with gender equity. A sig-nificant aspect of the problem is the fact that there are simply so many more male philoso-phers than female philosophers among students and faculty alike. The problem is at its stark-est at the faculty level, where only 22% - 24% of philosophers are female in the United States (Van Camp 2014), the United Kingdom (Beebee & Saul 2011) and Australia (Goddard 2008).<1> While this is a result of the percentage of women declining at each point through-out the standard career trajectory, recent large-scale studies in the United States (Paxton et al. 2012) and Australia (Goddard et al. 2008) have identified a key drop-off point as the transi-tion between taking introductory classes and majoring in philosophy. So why do dispropor-tionately few female students choose to major in philosophy?

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