Women in philosophy in Canada

It is worth asking whether academic philosophy has made any progress in hiring women and non-binary gendered persons. While answers have to be cautious (since CPA data that has been collected on this matter since 1991 is incomplete), the trend seems to be movement in the right direction:

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This data was collected by asking Departmental Chairs to report the gender breakdown of their faculty. For various reasons, our surveys ended in 2011, so the data comes to a halt at that point.

That led me to be curious as to how things are turning out in 2017. So, I went to every Canadian philosophy department website I know of, and found the demographic information using the totally non-scientific and fully unreliable method known as “counting heads”. The results can be found here. The result is that 72% of those on the tenure-track present as male, and 28% as female. Notably, the asymmetry is even more pronounced for lecturers and contract faculty, who are mostly male (80:20%).

Caveats:

  • It is worth keeping in mind that the data collection techniques are incommensurable with previous ones; not all Chairs participated in previous iterations of the survey.
  • Also worth noting that I canvassed a larger pool of universities and colleges than was done in the past.
  • I did it quickly and gendered each person based on my judgment of how they presented. My French is also not as good as it was as a child, which possibly led to errors. If you see mistakes, let me know in the comments and I’ll update this post accordingly.

So, the face-value decline of women in the ranks may not necessarily reflect an actual decline. But if there is any progress, I would need to see evidence of it. From these numbers, I have to infer that the best case scenario is that things are stagnating.

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