Philosophy at St Andrews

Equality and Diversity in Philosophy

BPA Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP)

In 2014/15, The British Philosophical Association (BPA) and the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) launched a Good Practice Scheme to encourage the representation of women in philosophy. The guidelines deal with gender bias, the proportion of women participating in conferences and seminar series, sexual harassment, the responsibilities of caregivers, and staff-student relationships.

We are proud to announce that from January 2016, Philosophy at St Andrews has subscribed to every aspect of the scheme and will continue to work with all members of the Philosophy community at St Andrews to ensure that the good practice is embedded within the life of the department.

In preparation for the adoption of this scheme the department did the following:

  • Reviewed the gender balance of reading lists for all modules taught in the department
  • Invited the University's Equality & Diversity Officer to attend the Departmental Staff Council in September 2015 to discuss unconscious bias and provide a short training session on this topic
  • Provided all staff with access to the University's on-line assessed Equality & Diversity training module and encouraged them to complete the programme

Specific action points to be addressed in the future in light of adoption of this scheme include:

  • The University will launch an on-line training module for all staff on unconscious bias in March 2016 and all Philosophy staff will be encouraged to complete this programme
  • The department will investigate the daily charge for child day care in local childcare facilities and ensure that budget allocation is made available as appropriate for conferences and seminars where visiting staff are attending
  • All speakers and delegates to be made aware as a matter of routine that assistance with childcare facilities can be arranged on request.
  • The School Administrator will prepare data on the gender of organisers and speakers at conferences and seminars and this will be presented to the Departmental Staff Council at the start of each semester for information and monitoring purposes (the first report was presented in November 2015 for the year 2014/15)

Women and Minorities in Philosophy Society

The Student Philosophy Society (PhilSoc) created a new student society in October 2014 which is fully integrated into the life of the Department and which is financially supported in 2015/16 by funding awarded via CAPOD (the University's Centre for Academic, Professional & Organisational Development) and by the Department of Philosophy.

The Women and Minorities in Philosophy Society is a student-led society which aims to raise awareness of and address diversity issues in academic philosophy and have recently received a funding award from the Minorities in Philosophy organisation. For more information, including events and activities, please contact or visit

Athena SWAN Bronze Award

As part of the School of Philosophical, Anthropological & Film Studies, the Department of Philosophy is preparing an application for an Athena SWAN Gender Equality Bronze Award and has established a Self-Assessment Team which has been meeting regularly since October 2015.  The Team membership is as follows:  Mrs Katie Allan (School Administrator/Secretary), Professor Michael Cowan (Head of Film Studies), Dr Lucy Donaldson (Lecturer, Film Studies), Professor James Harris (Head of Philosophy), Professor Mark Harris (Head of School), Professor Katherine Hawley (Deputy Head of School/Chair),  Dr Lisa Jones (Philosophy Director of Teaching), Dr Stavroula Pipyrou (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Social Anthropology), Dr Adam Reed (Head of Social Anthropology). 

In May 2015 the Equality Challenge Unit's (ECU) Athena Swan charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

ECU's Athena SWAN Charter covers:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students

In relation to:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff