Below is a guest post by Kathryn Norlock (Trent University).
I have long believed the conventional wisdom that women are not proportionately distributed through every subfield in philosophy. In my field of theoretical ethics, in particular, it is often said that more women in philosophy seem to be found here than are in the profession more widely.
I believe it a little less today, though it may still turn out to be true. Trent University student Cole Murdoch undertook a short summer research project for me, looking at the ratio of male to female authors in two leading journals of moral philosophy.
Although we've still data to wade through, it is interesting to me that in looking at a five-year window of publications in Ethics and Journal of Moral Philosophy, the student did not find that women-authored articles appeared in much greater numbers than our number in the profession. I tasked him with this merely to find out who and what the journals in my field publish, for self-interested reasons, but I also expected that, as we regularly hear women in philosophy disproportionately specialize in ethics, he'd find much more parity in JMP and Ethics, or at least, higher numbers of women's names than one might find in the profession. [see below for a report of the analysis]
Preliminary Project Report
Cole Murdoch (Trent University), for Prof. Kathryn Norlock (Trent University)
Journal of Moral Philosophy
Reviewing Journal of Moral Philosophy’s publications between 2009 and 2014, there is an overwhelming presence of male authorship in the chosen literature. Of the 262 titles since 2009 that were inspected, 144 appear to be articles, and the remaining 118 seem to be book reviews. Authors coded as male appear 127 times as authors of articles, and 96 times as authors of book reviews (note that some articles had more than one author). Male-coded authors account for 82.5% of authors of all articles inspected, and 85% of book review authors; male authors seem to be 83.5% of all 267 authors of all inspected titles including book reviews.
Authors coded as female appear as authors of 26 articles, or 17.5% of all authors of the articles inspected. Female-coded authors also appear for 18 book reviews (15% of book reviews). In total, female authors appear to be sources of 44 articles and book reviews, accounting for almost 17% of all publications.
Interestingly, the University of Sheffield and Cambridge University were among the most common institutional author-affiliations.
Reviewing the journal’s publications between 2009 and 2014, Ethics has, similarly, an unbalanced gender division in its publications. Cole Murdoch inspected 386 articles and book reviews since 2009, including 105 articles and 256 book reviews.
Authors coded as male seem to be 94 of the authors of articles, or 80% of all authors of inspected articles (note that some articles had more than one author).
Female-coded authors seem to appear under 24 titles of articles, or 20% of all authors of inspected articles (note that some articles had more than one author).
While this journal appeared more institutionally diverse than JMP, Georgetown was the most frequently occurring institution.