This post is my reply to a similar list published by Scott Samuelson over at the Huffington Post: 7 Philosophers You Should Know (And Probably Don't). His list, which was comprised entirely of men, became an occasion for me to think of a few women that should be included in this mix. In the end, I made up my own list of seven women philosophers whom you may not have heard of:
Hannah Arendt(phenomenology, existentialism, and jewish philosophy)
Mary Astell (Cartesian philosophy, rationalism and idealism)
I've left off some of the most commonly known women philosophers, such as Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler,and Martha Nussbaum. Still, some of the philosophers on this list are pretty well known (many have probably at least heard of Mill, Arendt, and Irigaray), while others who should be just as well known didn't make the (all too short) list.
It was actually very difficult to narrow the list to just seven- Hypatia(the best known philosopher from ancient times),Christine de Pizan (who wrote the utopian masterpiece City of Ladies),the more contemporary Rosi Braidotti (who invented nomadic subjectivities), and many many more have not been included.
When choosing, I'd like to think that I erred on the side of readability and interest to a contemporary audience across several arenas (politics, ontology, epistemology, etc.), but if I'm to be honest, these are just some of my very favorites!
I invite you to add your favorites and/or to make your own list (and if you do, post it here to the comments for all to enjoy, or email it to me.)