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Philosophy of Science

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PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal

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Women In Philosophy: A Qualitative Assessment Of Experiences At The Undergraduate Level, Crystal Nicole Lilith Aymelek Jun 2015

Women In Philosophy: A Qualitative Assessment Of Experiences At The Undergraduate Level, Crystal Nicole Lilith Aymelek

PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal

The underrepresentation of women in the field of philosophy has been a major concern for women in the discipline for at least the past ten years, and is increasingly gaining attention within academia. Current research at the undergraduate level suggests male and female enrollment occurs in relatively proportionate numbers in introductory philosophy courses but women’s enrollment dramatically decreases with the progression to upper division courses (Paxton, Figdor & Tiberius, 2012). To date, very little research has focused on the experiences of women philosophy majors at the undergraduate level. The present study conducted in-depth interviews with women who were either senior philosophy majors or those who recently received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in order to better understand what factors may contribute to the retention of women in the discipline. Our findings suggests that women with non-traditional gender schemas may be more likely to continue to take courses in philosophy. This finding may be mediated by the following factors: (a) exposure to philosophy prior to college; (b) having mentors irrespective of gender; (c) the presence of female faculty; (d) a supportive environment and; (e) a strong sense of agency as a student.