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Addressing Gender Imbalance

2018 participantsLongstanding Summer Program for Women in Philosophy at UC San Diego offers supportive experience for undergraduates wishing to pursue advanced degrees in philosophy

Helping to address the significant gender imbalance in the field of philosophy, UC San Diego will once again host the Summer Program for Women in Philosophy, bringing 15 undergraduate students to campus from universities across the United States for an intensive, 10-day program to better prepare them for graduate study in the discipline.

Hosted by the Department of Philosophy July 22 – Aug. 2, the program features two graduate-level seminar courses and multiple workshops led by UC San Diego and visiting faculty members, as well as current graduate students.

The purpose is to provide an engaging, unique and supportive learning experience, providing the confidence to stay with — and succeed at — advanced study in philosophy.

“Interacting with women professionals who are successful in the field helps undergraduate women to picture themselves in the role of a professional philosopher,” said current Department of Philosophy graduate student H. JiMin Kwon, who is serving on the 2019 Executive Committee with associate professor Clinton Tolley.

“Our seminars predominantly feature women philosophers, which is almost unheard of in a traditional classroom setting. This can make a huge impact on students' decision to pursue the discipline, which can in turn help reduce gender disparity in philosophy,” Kwon said.

National Opinion Research Center data shows an average of 27% of philosophy Ph.D.s given in the United States between 1997 and 2012 were awarded to women, and statistics from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences paint a similar picture. In their 2016 study “Gender Distribution of Degrees in Philosophy,” the proportion of women earning degrees in the discipline was “substantially lower” than for humanities as a whole.

The UC San Diego program was one of the first U.S. institutions to offer enrichment specifically targeting under-represented groups among philosophy students, and the first dedicated to building opportunities specifically for undergraduate women who are planning to pursue graduate school in philosophy, Tolley said.

“In addition to providing individual opportunities for philosophical growth and professional development, the program also provides a unique opportunity for creating a special sense of community among each cohort, with the students and faculty forming networks for collaboration, academic support and friendship that last well after their time at UC San Diego,” he said. “We are very excited for the chance to welcome all of the students and the visiting faculty to our department and the UC San Diego community more broadly.”

Read the full story on the UC San Diego News Center.

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