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Women, Gender, Feminism, and Psychology in the United States and Canada




The historic Seneca Falls Convention on Women's Rights in New York State marks the beginning of the women's suffrage movement and first-wave feminism in the United States. The Declaration of Sentiments is signed by 68 women and 32 men; the principal author was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 



Sojourner Truth delivers her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio



Christine Ladd Franklin: First woman to complete all the requirements for a PhD at Johns Hopkins University, a degree she was not granted until 1926



Mary Whiton Calkins establishes a psychology laboratory at Wellesley College


Calkins and Ladd Franklin: First female members of the American Psychological Association 




Margaret Floy Washburn becomes the first woman to be officially awarded the PhD degree in psychology, at Cornell University under E.B. Titchener




Calkins and Cordelia Nevers begin their debate with Jospeh Jastrow about the Community of Ideas of Men and Women


Milicent Shinn publishes an article in Century Magazine in which she explores the reasons for the lower rates of marriage among college-educated women, concluding that educated women have more freedom in their choice of mates and more economic independence




Helen Thompson (Woolley) completes the first dissertation on sex differences, entitled The Mental Traits of Sex


Ladd Franklin, Calkins and Washburn named to American Men of ScienceEmma Sophia Baker becomes the first woman in Canada to earn a PhD on a psychological topic




Mary Whiton Calkins: First woman to be elected president of the APA



Helen Woolley publishes A Review of the Recent Literature on the Psychology of Sex in the Psychological Bulletin




Anna Berliner becomes the only woman to complete a PhD under Wilhelm Wundt


Leta Stetter Hollingworth publishes Variability as Related to Sex Differences in Achievement: A Critique in the American Journal of Sociology


Hollingworth publishes her doctoral dissertation entitled Functional Periodicity: An Experimental Study of the Motor and Mental Abilities of Women During Menstruation



Hollingworth publishes Social Devices for Impelling Women to Bear and Rear Children in the American Journal of Sociology

Anthropologist Robert Lowie and Hollingworth publish Science and Feminism in Scientific Monthly 




Constitutional amendment gives women the right to vote in the United States



Margaret Floy Washburn is the second woman to be elected president of the APA


Leta Stetter Hollingworth is cited in American Men of Science for her research on the psychology of women




The Famous Five succeed in having the Supreme Court of Canada declare women as persons in the eyes of the law in the famous Persons Case




Margaret Floy Washburn: First woman psychologist elected to the National Academy of Science




Inez Beverly Prosser: First African American woman to receive a doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Cincinnati, in educational psychology




Ruth Howard (Beckham): Second African American woman to receive a doctoral degree in psychology, first within a department of psychology, at the University of Minnesota




Helen Flanders Dunbar founds the American Society for Research in Psychosomatic Problems and is the first editor of the society's journal, Psychosomatic Medicine: Experimental and Clinical Studies 


Alberta Banner Turner earns her PhD from Ohio State University




The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) is founded.  Although none of its founding members are women, women soon make up one-third of the society's membership




Rose Butler Browne becomes the first African American woman to earn a PhD in Education at Harvard University




Karen Horney founds the American Institute for Psychoanalysis


National Council of Women Psychologists (NCWP) is formed to mobilize women psychologists in the war effort




Florence L. Goodenough: First president of the newly created National Council of Women Psychologists, which became the International Council of Women Psychologists in 1946 and then the International Council of Psychologists in 1959




Mamie Phipps Clark is the first African American woman (and second African American) to receive a PhD from Columbia University



Ruth Tolman serves as SPSSI's first female council representative


SPSSI Committee on Roles of Men and Women in Postwar Society chaired by Georgene Seward issues a report concluding that sex differences are based largely on differential training and social myth




Georgene Seward's Sex and the Social Order is published


Mamie Phipps Clark establishes the Northside Center for Child Development in New York City




Keturah Whitehurst earns her PhD from Harvard's Radcliffe College and goes on to become the first African-American psychologist licensed in Virginia



If you know of an important historical event that should be listed here,email the date and a few lines about the event
to alexr [@] yorku.caLinks to further information and photos with proper permissions are also appreciated.