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.
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:
Events organised by Essex SWIP Group include:
Contact our Women's Officer to find out about upcoming events.
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.