August 5, 2015
When I present individuals of historical significance I tend to look for a person that not only presents an important contribution to humanity, but has a unique backstory of how they overcame unfavorable odds in order to reach their goals. In this instance I am going to pick an individual for their contributions to psychology, but more importantly for the fact that they did so in an era that was not favorable. I am speaking of Mary Whiton Calkins and how she was not only a pioneer in the study of psychology, but that she did so during an era where women were greatly denied opportunity despite any qualifications they may have had.
As many of you know, there is still a gap in our society and in most societies as a whole between social, and professional equality for women. Yes, there has been a tremendous shift in the right direction over the last 50 years that has seen women shown as housewives to being considered qualified to hold the same social and professional standing as men. It is apparent however, that despite the progress we have seen that the gap is still larger that we perceive. Woman have become more relevant in many arenas, but things such as unequal pay, stereotyping, and sexism still exist. That is what makes what Mary Whiton Calkins achievements so remarkable. In the early 21st century the social norms in regard to the views of woman and in particular women in the workplace were very misguided and unfair. Even as frustrating as things can be today for women, imagine what it was like at the turn of the century when the perception was that women were inferior to men in nearly every way. It was believed that a woman’s job was to be a housewife and that was to all they were able of achieving. Even though around the turn of the century more women did attempt to go to college, and the male dominated professions were largely blocked...