Philosophy Departments and Journals Ranked by Gender Data at New Website


A new website presents data on women in philosophy in a novel manner: it orders departments by number of women faculty and journals by number of women authors.

Data on Women in Philosophy is a project created by Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton) and a group of professors and students. Professor Hassoun writes:

It is well established that women are under-represented in philosophy at all levels. There is also some data on the under-representation of women in philosophy journals. But better data is essential for setting targets and evaluating performance in attempting to improve the situation for women in the field. This project attempts to fill some of the gaps. It ranks about 100 departments in terms of the proportion of women on their faculty and looks at the number of women publishing in 20 top journals over several decades. How does yours perform?

Here’s a video explaining the project:

Visitors to the site can select from various sources of data from a pull down menu and see the resultant ordering. For example, based on Professor Hassoun’s own data collection (the methodology for which is described lower down on this page), here are the top 12 philosophy departments (of those mentioned in the 2015 Philosophical Gourmet Report) ranked by percentage of women on the faculty:

women-in-philosophy-data-1

And here are the top 12 journals (of 20 select journals) ranked by percentage of women authors of “normal articles”:

women-in-philosophy-data-2

You can see more data at the site.

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Sara L. Uckelman
4 years ago

I’d love to see actual numbers instead of just bar graphs (which makes it very hard to see what the numbers are). Also, I’m surprised Durham isn’t on the list, given that 40% of our permanent staff are women (9 out of 24), and I know we’ve featured in the PGR. (And yes, I’ve also sent this comment to the people running the site!)Report

Roberta Millstein
Roberta Millstein
Reply to  Sara L. Uckelman
4 years ago

Agreed. One of the data sets for my university looks way off. Are they set up to take corrections?Report

gradute student
gradute student
4 years ago

I find it odd that they include the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, but don’t include Canadian PhD programs….Report

Nicole Hassoun
4 years ago

We are in the process of analyzing and preparing publications with the data and hope eventually to make it freely available online with a stable doi. We require some funding to expand the site but do hope to expand in the future and appreciate all suggestions/proposals for collaboration.
Report

Wendy
Wendy
4 years ago

I agree that it is very important to rank journals according to the percentage of women authors. But I would also like to see journals ranked according to the number and percentage of women as editors and members of the editorial committee. Report

Svelte
Svelte
4 years ago

It is a bit misleading that the default view for this is “all professors” and not “tenure-track and tenured faculty” (or, better, some combination of tenure stream faculty with stably employed lecturers). “all professors” seems to include emeriti, post-docs and visiting faculty.Report

Axel Arturo Barceló
4 years ago

Since the Philosophical Gourmet Report is a ranking of graduate programs in philosophy in the English-speaking world, it would be important to be explicit about this being restricted to philosophy programs in the English-speaking world, and not just “Philosophy Departments”. The title is very misleading. Report

Michel X.
Michel X.
Reply to  Axel Arturo Barceló
4 years ago

They’re explicit about it being just American departments, though. No Anglophone departments from outside the US are considered.Report

William
Reply to  Michel X.
4 years ago

I believe what that commenter was going for was analytic philosophy in less tribalistic terms. And that would be a reasonable thing to mention, this list excludes Stony Brook among other biases inherited from the PGR.Report

William Lewis
William Lewis
Reply to  William
4 years ago

It would be a strange list that includes Villanova and Penn State but excludes Stony Brook as being insufficiently analytic.
Report

Christopher Gauker
Christopher Gauker
4 years ago

Why is the statistical travesty that is the Philosophical Gourmet the source for a list of graduate programs in philosophy rather than the APA?Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

How were the journals selected? The OP states. “And here are the top 12 journals (of 20 select journals) ranked by percentage of women authors of “normal articles”Report

Brian Weatherson
4 years ago

The data for University of Michigan seems wrong.

For one thing, I’m not sure why UM is listed as a single entity, when other state universities are broken up into constituent campuses. (This could be related to the oddities below.)

Eyeballing the graph, it seems to suggest that we have 6 women out of 40 faculty.

Among full-time faculty at UM-Ann Arbor, there are 8 women out of 23 faculty. Among full and part time faculty at UM-Ann Arbor, there are 8 women out of 24 faculty. And among full time, part time and cross-listed faculty, there are 8 women out of 31 faculty.

I’m not sure which of those 3 numbers is the most representative of the actual balance of the department. (I think it’s the 8/24 number, but I have a vested interest here.) But whatever number you pick, it’s very different to the number being shown.Report

Eric Swanson
Reply to  Brian Weatherson
4 years ago

I was confused about this at first, but after Nicole (and others working with her) very generously took the time to explain things to me, I’m convinced that they’ve followed their methodology perfectly for UM Ann Arbor. That process counted only six of the eight women now among our full-time tenure stream faculty, because two of these women were hired in 2015, and their names were added to our website after data was gathered. The methodology also counted as among our total faculty many affiliates whose primary role is elsewhere in the university, and who never or at most rarely teach for us. All those people are men.

The result does misrepresent the current spirit of philosophy here, I think. Eight of the current twenty-three faculty in philosophy who regularly advise philosophy dissertations, teach, make policy and hiring decisions, etc., are women. But I think the rationale for the methodology that was used is entirely understandable — there’s only so much one can do on a shoestring budget! Thanks to Nicole and her team for their work on this project, and for being so responsive to concerns.Report

Brian Weatherson
Reply to  Eric Swanson
4 years ago

Though it is a slightly strange methodology that counts 16 folks (7 affiliated and 9 retired) who are not teaching in our department as part of the most prominent count. Report

Jon Light
Jon Light
4 years ago

Did the author of the study create a metric that ranks her program first? Seems a bit sketchy.Report

Cara 9
Cara 9
Reply to  Jon Light
4 years ago

I don’t think it’s strange that a strong department in female philosophers would be a leader in research about these issues. In fact I think it makes the whole project look more credible.Report

Nicole Hassoun
4 years ago

Hi all, please do read the methodology on the about page for an answer to many of the questions. For the Hassoun (2015) data we simply tried to expand Van Camp’s existing data set by looking at the schools she originally selected in 2004. I believe should choose a sample of schools originally on the PGR and another set that were not and followed these through time. We used the Leiter Survey of philosophy journals to expand Schwitzgebel and Jennings’ data set but are working on getting data on a much larger sample of schools over a longer time period. We are revisiting the University of Michigan data to see if we can find the problem (and appreciate it if you can let us know if you find any other potential problems). Some things to remember, however: it is very difficult to do these counts. Websites are not always up to do date and faculty are listed in different ways at different institutions. So, besides problems that arise due to human error, there can be differences in data sources even in the same year due to e.g. how you count part time, affiliated, research, and teaching faculty and due to updates. That is why we provide multiple sources (e.g. for 2015) wherever we could get the data. Again, the methodology section describes exactly how we did this. The data can also be sorted in different ways. We did our best. Any and all volunteers/contributions to improving the site are appreciated!Report

J.L.
J.L.
Reply to  Nicole Hassoun
4 years ago

If you’re relying on websites that are admittedly inaccurate, you might consider other methodologies rather than just publishing results that you know aren’t likely to be right. Like maybe asking departments to verify the data before posting it?Report

Nicole Hassoun
4 years ago

Dear JL, just a few thoughts. First, as to whether Binghamton is first, I think it depends on how you look at things (try playing with the site just a bit to see this). Second, no method is perfect. We triple checked all numbers and I spent out my personal research budget to make this resource because I hope it will be of some use in the field. If you would like to volunteer to contact each department and get feedback if we collect more data, that would be great. I think we need more men to get involved and help make things better for women in the profession!

On the Michigan issue – please note that Michigan added a few new assistant professors who are female recently (and these may not have been up on their site when we collected the data) but the lion’s share of the difference in the numbers is that “all” includes many more categories of professors besides tenured/tenure track and I believe Michigan lists 9 emeritus professors on their site on which we collected data.Report

Nicole Hassoun
4 years ago

Dear all, it just occurred to me to ask everyone to please drop us a short line at [email protected] if you find this site is useful to you or actually makes a difference in some way. We would like to know if anyone is using it (even just to let their departments know where they stand and what they might do to improve). Thank you! -NicoleReport

Linda Lopez McAlister
Linda Lopez McAlister
4 years ago

Using the Leiter Survey of philosophical journals would explain, I assume, why Hypatia is not on the list. If it were it would probably be up there at or near the top.Report