Building peace in the minds of men and women

Women Philosophers’ Journal


The Women Philosophers’ Journal, launched in 2011, is conceived as the International Network of Women Philosophers’ major instance of knowledge production, as well as a channel of communication between the members at the international level. This endeavour represents a rare international-scale experience, whose approach is based on a principle of inclusiveness and multidisciplinarity. It shall unite women philosophers of all regions and of all cultures around a common effort, knowingly the very act of thinking by means of different intellectual traditions and academic criteria and usages.

Women philosophers are called upon to address fundamental questions that matter today in the field of intellectual work and its social impact, gender equality, human rights and universality, intercultural dialogue and community-oriented policy.

The Journal also provides an opportunity to publish announcements (in terms of offers and requests) concerning internships, tutoring, educational opportunities, publications, and other opportunities for exchange between women philosophers, doctoral students and researchers in philosophy.


Issue N° 4-5: Intellectuals, Philosophers, Women in India: Endangered Species

If we question the (wo)man in the street about “women in India”, some received ideas soon emerge. These received ideas, supported by statistics, are alas true. Women remain unborn: females are victims of fœticide and infanticide (44.3% versus 32% in the world). They obey their family and caste in marriage (85% of marriages are arranged, 18% of brides are under 15 years old, 44% under 18 years old); their dowry is heavy for their family; they are trafficked as sex workers and increasingly as brides far from home, isolated in a culture and a language they do not know. Ladki apne maa-baap by bojh hoti hai, “the girl is a burden for the parents”,—so goes the saying in Hindi. Rapes are numerous and go unpunished. They are the subjected to honor killing. They are domestic slaves; they do slave labour in the mines. They have more limited access to education (with 67% adult literacy compared to males), a higher drop-out rate at university (whic is already 48% by secondary school) especially in science, they quickly hit the glass ceiling.

Even if the law and customs are evolving – since the late nineteenth century women are no longer burned on the pyres to accompany their husband in death – all this is still true.

However, it is not primarily of these discriminations that this issue speaks, although they constitute the background of all the analysis. For it is less than ever possible to isolate the plight of women in India from the general socio-political situation that determines what is happening to them today. Hence the title we have chosen: “Intellectuals, philosophers, women in India: endangered species”.

It all began in a meeting with Romila Thapar, the legendary historian of ancient India, whose interview opens this issue. We then found it necessary to have a guest editor, Divya Dwivedi. And this choice itself is worth describing as a part of the situation that engages this issue of the Women Philosophers’ Journal. As her name suffices to make known in Indian society, she is of the caste of the Brahmins – as Romila Thapar, or Gayatri Chakravarty Spivak belong to the Brahmin caste, all “upper castes”. That makes her therefore “untouchable”, in a totally different sense than the dalits, the “untouchables”. Untouchable in a very relative sense, for even in the higher castes the woman intellectual is not worth the man intellectual. She is a philosopher and a literary scholar, English is her mother tongue as much as Hindi, and she found herself compelled to reflect on what postcolonial is, what it serves in the subcontinent, and what it is in the name of. Not making the post-colonial the first and the last word undoubtedly allows us to clarify with greater precision what is happening to women, philosophers and intellectuals in India today.

Barbara Cassin

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Issue N° 2-3: Arab Spring as seen by Women Philosophers

On the occasion of the launching of issue 2-3 of the Women Philosophers’ Journal, the International Network of Women Philosophers, sponsored by UNESCO, organized a conference on “Arab Spring as seen by Women Philosophers. The Arab Springs – Sustainable Springs? What women philosophers think of the (new) Arab world. What women philosophers of the (new) Arab world think.”

This issue is available only in French and (partially) in Arabic.


Issue N° 1: Squaring the circle

For its first Issue, the Journal is taking the bull by the horns: it questions its very conditions of possibility. What happens – philosophically and politically speaking – when one attempts to craft a Women Philosophers’ Journal? Apparently nothing that challenging: the subject matter is philosophy and the authors are women from all over the world. It is very simple indeed, and yet so complex that the theme of this first Issue should be ‘Squaring the circle’.

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Issue N° 0, December 2009:

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The Women Philosophers’ Journal is an online journal available in English and French.

The opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UNESCO.