Lately we have been discussing (here, here, here, here, here, here; or more obliquely, here, here) how sexist norms in philosophy might be changed. This NPR article explains how a norm -- related to wearing bike helmets -- may be changed:
Social norms theory — the notion that most people behave based on notions of their peers' behavior — explains why this is so. Clever politicians have used social norms theory to expand use of carpool lanes and dog leashes. Think about handicapped parking spaces. The able-bodied rarely park in them, not because they fear a fine — but because they find such an action abhorrent.
Whether they're put off by their own sense of ethics or fear of the disapproval of others is beside the point; the behavior has been established as a norm. If in England, the wearing of bike helmet were to be a norm — if a mum who allowed her little ones to bike without helmets were shunned by her peers in the PTA — not only would mandatory helmet laws become easier to pass, they'd become beside the point.
So, can philosophy norms me changed without some shunning mechanisms?