The Gender Gap in Political Theory

by Corey Robin on May 13, 2014

I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to an important new blog—Ms. Perestroika—that’s keeping track of the gender gap in academic political theory. It just started, but already it’s got informative posts on recent job searches and hires, the publication record of Political Theory, whose books are getting reviewed and by whom, and the composition of panels at the Western Political Science Association. This seems like an important initiative, so I wanted to make sure folks knew about it.



G 05.13.14 at 3:38 am

I was at the WPSA this year. Attended an author-meets-critics panel organized around a junior female political theorist’s new book. It was fantastic. But in that room (stifling), predictably women were outnumbered, the women who were present were graduate students, and after checking, I counted only one person of color (although I might have overlooked one) in a room of surely over 40 or 50 academic political theorists. Anecdotal, but I’d guess not an unusual situation for political theory. Great initiative by Ms. Perestroika.


G 05.13.14 at 3:40 am

Sorry, I should have said above, “the women who attended were predominately graduate students.”


John Quiggin 05.13.14 at 6:01 am

A bit of a tangent but I was struck by the dominance of single author papers. In Econ most papers are joint and gender patterns in coauthor ship are a big part of the problem


geo 05.13.14 at 6:10 am

JQ@3: Isn’t that because political philosophers just sit in a room smoking a pipe and excogitating — a solitary activity, if there ever was one — while economists, like the true scientists they are, work in teams on wide-ranging research projects, gathering vast amounts of data and performing highly sophisticated, multi-something-or-other analyses with the latest statistical techniques?


SN 05.14.14 at 8:19 am

This is great. Thanks for posting it. I wish we had an accounting of the field. How many women are in political theory. I also wish we knew how many women submitted to Political Theory. Almost 30% sounds like so many when you come from philosophy.


QS 05.14.14 at 1:32 pm

Environmental political theory is predominantly male. I noticed this both at the workshop and on my panel at WPSA (all male panel, and I’d guess about 20 men and 5-6 women in the audience). Strange considering it’s a friendly and open group and I never considered the environment/nature to be coded a male preoccupation.


Belle Waring 05.15.14 at 10:38 am

SN @ 5: I know, sad, right? 30%! That would be so awesome!

Unrelatedly, this looks like the time to bring out my new proposal that academic articles with more than one author be described just like pop songs with one rap section, or rap songs using “feat.” as short for “featuring.” So, in the unlikely event Corey and I co-authored a paper it would be credited to “Prof Robin feat. B-Dubs.”


Walt 05.15.14 at 1:20 pm

Surely it would be B-War?


Mario 05.16.14 at 10:45 am

When it comes to the gender gap in science, political or otherwise, I like the line of thought of this article:

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