On being a (white, middle class) woman in parapsychology

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Abstract / Description of output

In this paper the author provides a personal perspective on the theme of women in parapsychology. She reflects on her journey in academia, from being the first in her farming family to go to university, to joining the University of Edinburgh in 1986 as Research Assistant to the first Koestler Professor Robert Morris, to her current position as the second holder of the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology. Equality of opportunity is complex, and the author has benefitted greatly from the privileges of being white and middle-class, and of having an open-minded boss (indeed, she speculates that parapsychologists may be particularly open-minded). At the same time, she has experienced gender-related obstacles in her career, including periods of maternity leave, and disproportionate responsibility for dependants and housekeeping. The latter challenges have mostly been managed with part-time working. Perhaps as a consequence, progression to more senior academic positions (notably being promoted to the Koestler Chair in 2016 aged almost 54) has been slow relative to male colleagues. Studies of the profile of UK academics indicate that this is a typical experience for many female researchers. But the same data also show that other less privileged groups are even more poorly represented in academia, most notably black people. In 1994 Rhea White memorably highlighted the advantages of taking a feminist approach to parapsychology. This paper concludes by suggesting that parapsychological research – the questions that we ask, the methods that we employ, and what we learn as a result – will benefit from an even more inclusive academy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-285
JournalJournal of Anomalistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • feminist
  • feminism
  • decolonizing
  • decolonization
  • parapsychology
  • equal opportunity


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