Why is there female under-representation among philosophy majors? Evidence of a pre-university effect

Journal article


Baron, Sam, Dougherty, Tom and Miller, Kristie. (2015). Why is there female under-representation among philosophy majors? Evidence of a pre-university effect. Ergo. 2(14), pp. 330-365. https://doi.org/10.3998/ergo.12405314.0002.014
AuthorsBaron, Sam, Dougherty, Tom and Miller, Kristie
Abstract

Why does female under-representation emerge during undergraduate education? At the University of Sydney, we surveyed students before and after their first philosophy course. We failed to find any evidence that this course disproportionately discouraged female students from continuing in philosophy relative to male students. Instead, we found evidence of an interaction effect between gender and existing attitudes about philosophy coming into tertiary education that appears at least partially responsible for this poor retention. At the first lecture, disproportionately few female students intended to major. Further, at the first lecture, female students were less interested in philosophy, were less self-confident about philosophy, and were less able to imagine themselves as philosophers. Similarly, female students predicted they would feel more uncomfortable in philosophy classes than male students did. Further study with a control is warranted to determine whether this interaction effect is peculiar to philosophy, or whether it is indicative of a more general gendered trend amongst first year undergraduate students.

Year2015
JournalErgo
Journal citation2 (14), pp. 330-365
PublisherMichigan Publishing
ISSN2330-4014
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3998/ergo.12405314.0002.014
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range330-365
FunderAustralian Research Council (ARC)
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Open
Output statusPublished
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Online2015
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Aug 2021
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDARC/DP0987186
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