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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why are there so few women blogging/commenting on Indian philosophy?

 What should or could one do to enhance the participation of women to the blogosphere, especially in the blogosphere dealing with Indian philosophy?
In case you think that the appropriate answer is "nothing", you are in good company. I myself used to think that the blogosphere is open enough to everyone and that participating to it is just everyone's personal decision, no special policies needed. Furthermore, personally I never asked for any special treatment because of being a woman. I just want to be considered a human being and not a "special case", in need of protection.

However, if one considers the issue more carefully, one must notice that the absence of women is striking. Already on this blog, it is interesting to notice that, although the main author is a woman, one needs to go back to January 2012 in order to find a comment which can be attributed to a female reader (who, very tellingly, labels herself Lajjikā). And since it is hardly believable that women are just not smart enough to write interesting things about Indian philosophy, one is forced to mourn about how much we are missing by willingly or unwillingly excluding them.

Thus, we are back to the initial question. Given that it would be quite strange to have reserved quotes for women in the blogosphere and that, personally, I would not like having the feeling that I am allowed to write in a prestigious blog only because of my gender, here is my proposal:
Try to engage with all comments written by a woman 
I know, one does not have time/energy/etc. to address all comments, but the male contributors to this and to any other blog might try to make special efforts to answer all the comments by female contributors, holding in mind that the latter might misunderstand the lack of answers as due to their gender and to the typical disregard reserved to women (usually considered to be "shallow").

What do you think? Do we have the responsibility to facilitate the access to the blogosphere of women, given that if we don't we will miss their contributions? Which other ways would you recommend?
And, if you are a woman, why do you/don't you write and comment? What helps and what does not?

On the few women blogging in the field of Indian philosophy (and related fields), see this post. On a parallel discussion (on women blogging about philosophy), see this post (in another blog).

8 comments:

ombhurbhuva said...

It is surprising when you consider that most philosophy students in India are women. They have access to internet of course.

अश्वमित्रः said...

[They have access to internet of course.]

And more importantly, they have the time. Sanskrit studies in India are also dominated by women for the same reason nowadays.

elisa freschi said...

Are you aware of any of their blogs/forums? Also in languages other than English?

ombhurbhuva said...

No I have no knowledge of such. Even when I was involved in an Advaita list few women commented.

Eisel Mazard said...

Meanwhile, Buddhist philosophy is dominated by women --and, more generally, all of the non-moribund Buddhist institutions are dominated by women.

When you say "Indian Philosophy", what you really mean is, therefore, a category that excludes Buddhism.

elisa freschi said...

Thank you, Eisel. As in the original post, my concern started with women blogging about philosophy in general. Indian philosophy is unfortunately not an exception, nor do I know any blog about Buddhist philosophy written by women/with women contributors. Could you point them out for me?

Devika Pathare said...

Why do you feel that Women are not blogging about Indian philosophy.

Devi
womens shopping online

elisa freschi said...

Well, Devi, I think it is like that because I never encountered a blog about Indian philosophy run by a woman (except for the exceptions mentioned in the post). Did you? If so, please point them out!

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