Tag Archives: feminism

Looking Back 40 Years On: The APA Committee on Women in Psychology

Feminists form Division 35 of the American Psychological Association in 1973, now the Society for the Psychology of Women. (via www.feministvoices.com)

Forthcoming in Psychology of Women Quarterly is an article detailing the history and achievements of the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women in Psychology. Formed in 1973, the committee has served as an activist feminist group within the larger organization for four decades. Full details follow below.

“The American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women in Psychology: 40 Years of Contributions to the Transformation of Psychology,” by Joan C. Chrisler, Cynthia de las Fuentes, Ramani S. Durvasula, Edna M. Esnil, Maureen C. McHugh, Shari E. Miles-Cohen, Julie L. Williams, and Jennifer P. Wisdom. The abstract reads,

The Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP) of the American Psychological Association was founded in 1973 in response to the report of the Task Force on the Status of Women in Psychology. In this article, we set the context for the founding of the task force and committee and briefly describe the history of feminist critique of, and activism within, organized psychology in the United States. From its inception to the present day, CWP has been known as an activist group. We review some of the major contributions CWP has made over four decades in service of the feminist transformation of psychology. We also review the committee’s major contributions to psychology in the public interest, especially to the physical and mental health and well-being of women.

Interview: Psychology’s Feminist Voices

AHP has the pleasure of presenting an interview with Alexandra Rutherford (right) on the ongoing online archive project Psychology’s Feminist Voices. Directed by Rutherford, Psychology’s Feminist Voices documents the contributions of female psychologists to the discipline, both past and present.

Rutherford is a faculty member in the History and Theory of Psychology graduate program at York University, a fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Society for the History of Psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the Society for the Psychology of Women and she was kind enough to grant AHP’s request for an interview.

AHP: Briefly, what is Psychology’s Feminist Voices?

AR: Psychology’s Feminist Voices is an Oral History and On-Line Archive Project that I launched in 2004. Although it started small, it has developed over the past 7 years into a multi-component collaborative initiative to document and preserve the voices and stories of feminist psychologists both for the historical record, and for feminist scholarship, teaching, and advocacy in psychology. To date, we have conducted over 100 interviews with self-identified feminist psychologists across North America and Europe. In 2010, we launched the Psychology’s Feminist Voices multimedia internet archive – http://www.feministvoices.com – at the American Psychological Association (APA) convention in San Diego, California. At that time, the site was officially endorsed by the Society for the Psychology of Women, Division 35 of the APA.

The internet archive features profiles of many of the participants in the oral history project, full transcripts and video excerpts from their interviews, and a 40-minute original documentary about the history of feminist psychology in the United States. And this is only half of it! The other half features profiles of women in the history of psychology who may or may not have identified as feminists, but who nonetheless made important contributions that need to be highlighted in our history. Continue reading Interview: Psychology’s Feminist Voices

History of Feminist Psychology in PWQ

The most recent issue of the Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ), includes two articles on the history of feminist psychology. In “Responsible Opposition, Disruptive Voices: Science, Social Change, and the History of Feminist Psychology” Alexandra Rutherford (left), Kelli Vaughn-Blount, and Laura C. Ball explore the complex relationship between psychologists’ positivist scientific ideals and feminist political projects. The other historically minded article in this issue of PWQ, “Feminism and Women Leaders in SPSSI: Social Networks, Ideology, and Generational Change,” explores the lives of female leaders of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Title, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Responsible Opposition, Disruptive Voices: Science, Social Change, and the History of Feminist Psychology” by Alexandra Rutherford, Kelli Vaughn-Blount, and Laura C. Ball. The abstract reads:

Feminist psychology began as an avowedly political project with an explicit social change agenda. However, over the last two decades, a number of critics have argued that feminist psychology has become mired in an epistemological impasse where positivist commitments effectively mute its political project, rendering the field acceptable to mainstream psychology yet shorn of its transformative vision. In this article, we explore the complexity of allying positivism with a transformative project using two illustrative examples from feminist psychology’s history. Both Naomi Weisstein, whose work was catalytic in the creation of feminist psychology in the 1970s, and Ethel Tobach, who has consistently fought against sexism, racism, and other forms of injustice as both scientist and citizen, have remained committed to the scientific ideal without losing sight of their political projects. Continue reading History of Feminist Psychology in PWQ