“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time” Oprah Winfrey
This is a free write tribute to a female trailblazer in the field of psychology and philosophy. See my post on “Those Lonely Years” to reference William James. He was the mentor and advisor to Mary Whiton Calkins. WP links to my blogpost aren’t showing.
“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
In a prestigious university a woman sat in a classroom where she wanted to learn psychology.
Four men got up and walked out in protest
because she wore a skirt.
She challenged the stereotype that women are intellectually inferior to men.
Thus, she was punished.
She possessed a great mind and a fire for learning.
She earned her PhD yet her credential was not granted
The Harvard Corporation would not allow it.
Backed by William James , Royce, and others, the powers in charge at Harvard would deny her the doctorate.
And today this right is still denied posthumously.
I wonder how much we have advanced in respect
to all women and girls in education—
keep pushing, keep studying, and forge ahead.
Hail, hail and bravo to those who persevere despite jealousy and elitism. Introspection is a powerful ally and our heroine in the journey of women in psychology proves its worth.
Mary Whiton Calkins dedicated her life to helping others by doing behavioral research, by teaching for over 40 years and by developing theories. She originated the paired association technique and important studies in relatedness and philosophy. Mary would leave her mark. In 1905 she became the first woman president of the APA.
Fifteen years later in 1920 women obtained the right to vote.
Male psychologists tried to take credit for her work.
Women are great thinkers. We are not lesser, we are not greater, we simply demand our equal place to do our work.
I wonder if women are included in the Great Books?
Even though all the letters and petitioning did not influence the exclusive barriers of male dominated academia
then and now, the timelessness of one person’s contribution to the world cannot be underestimated.
So if a woman is considered histrionic, over-emotional, or less-than,
I give you the research and writings
of Mary Whiton Calkins
Journal prompt: Have you ever been denied access to higher education? Where and why? Did you persevere? What are your personal views and experiences about gender equality? What are your views about the advancement of women? How about transgender people?
Copyright © 2014 art and writing by Susan E. Rowland, all rights reserved.