School of Philosophy and Art History

Women in Philosophy at Essex

Promoting gender equality

Women have been traditionally underrepresented in Philosophy. In our School, there have been a number of initiatives to change this.

Our School has 14 permanent academic members of staff in Philosophy, 6 of whom are women. This still falls short of gender parity, but represents a higher proportion than at most other institutions in the discipline and reflects a conscious effort, with four of our six most recent posts filled by women (including the only senior hire). In recent years, the majority of our undergraduate population in Philosophy has become female, around 55:45%, but our postgraduate community is still predominantly male. We seek to grow this community in such a way as to achieve gender parity at postgraduate level as well.

The Essex Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) Group

This is an informal student-led organisation which seeks both to raise awareness of, and think of ways of addressing, the under-representation of women in philosophy. The group is based on the Society for Women in Philosophy UK national organisation and its aims include:

  • providing a supportive network for self-defining women working in philosophy and other theoretical disciplines at Essex
  • promoting feminism in philosophy and philosophy in feminism
  • raising awareness of work by women in philosophy, both contemporary and historical
  • thinking critically about the discipline of philosophy and its relationship to women and other underrepresented groups

Events and activities

Events organised by Essex SWIP Group include:

  • welcome events for new students in October each year
  • regular social events to help provide a supportive environment for women to meet and discuss philosophy

Contact our Women's Officer to find out about upcoming events.

The British Philosophical Association and Society for Women in Philosophy Good Practice Scheme

The School of Philosophy and Art History are signed up as participants in the British Philosophical Association (BPA) and Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) Good Practice Scheme.

The scheme assists UK philosophy departments, learned societies and journals in ensuring that they have policies and procedures in place that encourage the representation of women in philosophy. It offers clear guidelines on running conference and seminar series (.pdf), preventing and dealing with sexual harassment (.pdf), supporting caregivers (.pdf), maintaining healthy staff-student relationships (.pdf) and managing research projects (.pdf).

Philosophy at the University of Essex signed up to the Good Practice Scheme in January 2015 and are committed to following these guidelines. We aim to treat all staff and students who are part of the school, and also visitors to the school, equally in all relevant respects, regardless of gender.

We acknowledge that historically women have been disadvantaged in many aspects of university and academic life, through both conscious and unconscious assumptions, biases, and prejudices, and through practical arrangements which were not favourable for women, and we are committed to changing this situation.

We believe that not only female students and staff of the school but the school, in general, will benefit academically, intellectually and socially from an energetic commitment to promoting gender equality.

SWIP good practice policy implementation plan (.pdf)
Good Practice Logo
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Get in touch
Dr Lorna Finlayson Women's Officer
Autumn Term 2019
Telephone: +44 (0) 1206 873002
Dr Ellisif Wasmuth Women's Officer
Spring Term 2020
Telephone: +44 (0) 1206 872622