Women in (Philosophical) Logic

Recent posts on the status of women in philosophy made me want to know what the situation is in logic. In philosophical logic it’s not good. I have a hunch that it’s better in logic generally, but haven’t had time to check this. The data I used is the number of publications in the Journal of Philosophical Logic for the past 7 years. Out of 247 (non-unique) authors, 22, or 9%, were women. That’s lower by several percentage points than any of the other publication rates for top journals reported by Sally Haslanger. You might think, oh, well, logic is “technical” and “math-y” and so that might explain the low percentage. But in mathematics generally, the numbers are usually in the 20s or 30s (percentage of math faculty and math doctorates at US departments), so that can’t be the whole story. Now, what’s really shocking is that out of the 94 authors from the US and Canada, only 2 = 2% were women. That’s even lower than the 6% rate of women authors in Mind! (The percentage for the UK was a somewhat larger 3%, for the rest of Europe 11%, and for Australia and New Zealand 16%). When I have time, I’ll repeat this with the Journal of Symbolic Logic as a check, but just looking at a few of the latest issues suggest the figure is somewhere in the 10-15% range.

10 thoughts on “Women in (Philosophical) Logic

  1. Anecdotally, it’s seemed to me that model theory has more women, and set theory has less women, among the fields of mathematical logic.

  2. >You might think, oh, well, logic is “technical” >and “math-y” and so that might explain the >low percentage…. I (woman) miss the (would be) “argument” … ?! … I (woman) also miss the (would be) relevance for ‘science’ of such a discussion as ‘women and…’… what about discussing about ‘fat and bald men in (philosophical) logic’ ?

  3. Ugh. That figure of 2% is incredibly depressing. I wonder if there is a worse gender imbalance in any academic journal.

  4. I agree with the feeling that the situation is depressing and do like the attention brought to the facts. My experience as a (female) logician and a mathematician is that things are pretty bad. My hunch is that the situation is not any better in logic in general, either.

  5. I think Brandon misses anon’s first point. Richard’s original post is great – it raises an important issue – but the suggestion that the ‘technicality’ and ‘mathiness’ of logic might *explain* the low numbers of women *could* be taken the wrong way (remember ex-Harvard Pres Larry Summers?). Of course, the low numbers of women in math *itself* needs an explanation. It *is* striking that it’s so much lower in logic …

  6. Yea, I recall I Harvard the Summers controversy wher ehe indicated (and got a lot of press indicating) that that “harder” (i.e. the math-y-er) a science becomes, the lower the proportion of woemen receiving doctorates in it annually tends to become. Mind you, the stats are there…he just did an assinine thing implying he understood the cause. I certainly don’t. There are some really shitty, hand-wavy explanations given that cite social factors…but I just don’t but it. Social factors that have fallen off, or are in the process of falling off in recent years (the exclusion of women from most formal education etc.) and the stats should reflect that. So I’m throwing up my hands and yeling and someone or some force to demand an explanation.

  7. I meant “explain” in the sense of statistical not causal explanation, of course. And although I don’t think the social factors that have influenced numbers of women going into science/math/tchnical philosophy have “fallen away”, I’d still like to see more attempts at causal explanations.

  8. Could you expand on what you meant by ‘female schema’ not being compatible with philosophy? That could easily be taken the wrong way

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