Almost everyone has had the chance to read the new Healy data on the citation of women. As another female philosopher has stated, a central take home point is that “women are cited. But they are only allowed to chip in to the debates–they are not allowed to be the agenda-setters.”
The question now is, what should we do about this? Increasing the diversity of those who participate in philosophy will not in and of itself change things unless we also find mechanisms to allow a more diverse range of people to “create” philosophy or to “set agendas” in philosophy, in Healy’s terms. Though it might mean some small progress, focusing on improving the citation of women’s work (for example, through a gendered-citation-campaign) will not fundamentally change things. Even if the citations of women’s work were to increase, women may still be prohibited from engaging in creative or agenda-setting philosophy.
There are likely a number of solutions that are worth of considering. Here are a few beginning thoughts:
1. Journals could implement a soft or hard quota in favour of publishing work by women that is “creative” or “agenda-setting”. (For an earlier discussion of quotas more broadly and a rejection of the most common objections to quotas see this discussion and a draft of my paper on this topic.)
2. Journals could broaden their conception of acceptable philosophical topics and methods. Women may have a greater tendency to write about non-mainstream topics. If journals opened up what they count as interesting and important work – if they included more interdisciplinary work, more work grounded in practice and experience, more work off the beaten path, for example – then more creative pieces by women may be published.
3. Journals could increase the number of women on their Editorial boards. Perhaps women are more likely to be in favour of publishing creative philosophy that is by women or to notice when work isn’t properly citing the (creative) work that has already been done by women.
I am confident that these are just a few of the many solutions that could be implemented. I hope that others will join the discussion by suggesting their own options or by clarifying which options among those discussed are the best and why this might be the case.