They “simply don’t think of women”

Posted: December 8, 2010 by Jender in ignoring women, implicit bias

My department hosts lots of conferences and members of the faculty frequently edit volumes of collected essays. With very few exceptions, conference line-ups initially consist exclusively of men, often including surprisingly junior male philosophers, who have published nothing or almost nothing. The good news is that at least one woman is almost always added to any given conference or volume. However, this often happens at the very last moment and as an afterthought. When it does happen, I often hear it explained with remarks such as “it would be good to have some women on the progamme/in the volume”. Such remarks are made even if the invited women are significantly more established and more obvious people to include than many of the invited men. I should add that my department is generally a very good place for female philosophers. This only makes this phenomenon more striking: I’m continuously amazed how otherwise enlightened people simply don’t think of women when they think about who to invite to conferences and contribute to edited volumes.

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