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Department of Philosophy

Equality and Welfare in Philosophy

The Durham Philosophy department is committed to promoting a collegial and professional working environment and positive intellectual culture in which all staff and students can thrive and feel supported. The Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG) is responsible for implementing departmental, and institutional policy on equality, welfare and diversity, as well as the professional recommendations of the British Philosophical Association. The department was awarded BPA/SWIP Good Practice Accreditation in 2015.

DIG includes a number of standing members, among them the department’s Equality and Welfare officer. The Committee meets twice termly and welcomes participation from all members of our community.

What is an Under-Represented Group in Philosophy?

Traditionally under-represented groups in philosophy include women philosophers, black philosophers, Asian philosophers, Latina/o and Hispanic Philosophers, Indigenous/Native philosophers, LGBTQ+ philosophers, and philosophers with a disability, among others.

Athena Swan

The Department of Philosophy is currently preparing an application for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. As part of that process, a self-assessment team (SAT), in conjunction with the Faculty Diversity and Equality committee, meets termly to consider quantative and qualititative data concerning inclusion and diversity in our department, as well as access to opportunity. The department’s Equality and Welfare officer sits on both SAT, DIG and on a Faculty-wide E&D forum and reports to our Head of Department.

In preparation for our Athena Swan application, a staff culture survey has been carried out to evaluate staff opinion on a variety of issues relating to gender equality including: promotion, worklife balance, mentoring opportunities and departmental culture. In 2016, a postgraduate survey was carried out. The results of these surveys, together with a statistical analysis of gender breakdown in student intake and outcomes, are informing an Action Plan which we are developing as part of our Athena Swan application, itself part of our wider commitment to ensuring that all philosophical talent is encouraged and developed within our community.

Departmental Policy on Equality and Welfare in Philosophy

Durham University policies on Equality and Diversity and Respect at Work and Study can be accessed on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages.

The most recently updated Departmental Policy on Equality and Diversity can be accessed here.

Proposals include recommendations:

  • To commit to robust inclusion of women and other under-represented philosophers in the curricula, reading lists (including primary and secondary sources, set tutorial readings, etc.), visual aids, etc., of undergraduate and postgraduate modules. This includes the department’s historical modules. (A Gender Balance Module Questionnaire for module leaders has been developed in conjunction with the Department Education Committee)
  • To commit to an on-going policy of working for as-good-as-possible gender equality in (i) the weekly research seminar series, (ii) the Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture series, (iii) events organised, (iv) module curricula, (v) reading lists, (vi) open days and similar events and (vii) other relevant areas (e.g. website masthead).
  • To commit to adopting ‘good practice’ advice from BPA, SWIP, and other organisations (e.g. ensuring standardised introductions for men and women speakers; taking a five-minute break between WRS talks and the discussion to give time for formulating questions).
  • To commit to ensuring that departmental training for postgraduate tutors includes explanation of the phenomena of implicit bias and stereotype threat, and how to counteract them.
  • To establish a confidential first point of contact within the Department for students who wish to report and discuss gender-related issues that are negatively impacting their studies. (e.g. climate, harassment).


The department requires that staff, tutors and students have the appropriate training to recognise and remove barriers to inclusion.

It is expected that Durham Philosophy staff will have completed training in Equality and Diversity, Unconscious Bias, and Sexual Violence and Misconduct. Training is bookable through this portal:

Our department

35% of our Academic Staff are female (2016-2017). In 2015-2016, we were close to gender-balanced – one of the few departments in the world. We have research expertise in women in the history of philosophy from the medieval period to the twentieth century. For more information, visit our Women in Philosophy Page.