The president of the Japanese Association for Philosophy, Professor Yasushi Kato, and the chair of the session “Gender Equality, Support for Young Researchers”, Professor Yuko Murakami, have invited Professor Ruth Hagengruber, head of philosophy at Paderborn University and director of the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, to present her work at the Center and the associated research group within the German Society for Philosophy (DGPhil) “Women in the History of Women Philosophy” in Japan.
Professor Murakami and Professor Wu Shiu-Ching, an invited guest from Taiwan, presented the problematic situation. In Japan and China, the percentage of female scholars in philosophy is relatively low. The stereotype that philosophy is uninteresting to women, or that women do not lend themselves to philosophizing, seems to persist. Even if women decide to study philosophy, it can be observed, similar to the situation in Germany, that the majority of female graduates leave the academic career.The topic of this session was the absence of women in philosophy, the epistemic injustices and structures that lead to it, but above all, the question as of how this situation can be changed. The presentation of Professor Hagengruber’s Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists thus offered a rather optimistic outlook. The Center offers promising approaches through its research on women in philosophy and public relations activities.Since Professor Hagengruber could not personally meet the invitation, her assistant Jessica Harmening presented the center’s research areas and methods. The Center’s open access Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women’s Philosophers (ECC) is a great way to illustrate the Center’s research agenda. Its aim is to give women their voices and their place in history back, as well as in the canon and in the cultural memory.
The importance of this research has already been recognized by the DGPhil; “Women in the History of Philosophy” is one of only six DGPhil research groups. An appreciation of this work on the history of women philosophers was further emphasized by the recognition of Professor Yasushi Kato, his interest in the projects and the invitation to Japan.