Apart from being the first woman president of the American Psychological Association, Mary Whiton Calkins is also known for the fact that she was deprived of her doctorate by the University of Harvard. Above all she is supposedly recognized for her significant contribution in the psychological cycles during her time especially for the discovery of the “psychology of selves.” She was born way back in 1863 in Hartford, Connecticut in a period that saw women rise through societal ranks the hard way. She was the eldest of five children in her family and maintained close relations with her mother. Her father, Wolcott Calkins, is known to have been a Presbyterian Church leader and played a great role in ensuring that her daughter got the best education despite the challenges during that time. Her prowess in psychology was discovered by a philosophy professor with whom she taught at the Wesley College, and this marked her beginning in the field which was still a branch of philosophy by then. She was quickly absorbed into the system due to the fact that women in the field were quite scarce (Jenn, 2001).
Her recruitment demanded that she had to study psychology for a year in order to fit properly in the job. However, there were very few psychology departments those days and her being a woman also proved to be an impediment. Mary Whiton Calkins managed to overcome all obstacles and later became an icon in the field of psychology particularly in her self-psychology theory. Her conceptuality dwelt on topics like dreams, space, time and emotions, and it contrasted the theory of behaviorism which was quite popular at the time (Jenn, 2001). She narrowed down her concepts to a conclusive remark that self psychology was the core of all psychoanalytic structures. Her achievements led to her attainment of the position of president of the APA in 1905, and the American Philosophical Association in 1918. Calkins went ahead to use her position in the society to campaign for women’s right during her times and especially the right of voting among other aspects. Another outstanding contribution also features prominently in form of the books and articles she wrote on the topic of psychology. Her remarkable feat enabled her to simultaneously publish analytical works both in the field of philosophy and that of psychology. Mary Calkins was also ranked twelfth in the list of top American psychologists in 1908.
Other women who made a mark in the psychological cycles during the time were Margaret Washburn and Karen Horney. Born Margaret Floy Washburn in July 1871, in Harlem New York she became the first woman to get a PhD and also got critically acclaimed as a great teacher and contributor in the field of psychology (Green, 2000). Born as the only child in her family, her wide travelling enabled her gain the required knowledge that saw her come up with books like the Animal Mind. She came up with the psychological theory that the perception of the human and animal minds. It stated that humans psychologically relate with animals in the same fashion they did with other humans. Calkins made significant strides in the liberation of women particularly by such theories and sentiments which she made despite her supposed handicap of being a woman at the time. On the other hand she thrived in her studies of emotions and music and bagged an award for that.
Another sensational woman in this particular field at the time was Karen Horney, born in September 1885, to a supportive mother and an authoritarian father. She went on to become one of the greatest women in the field of psychology especially by formulating an improved theory of neurosis. Her theory did perceive neurosis as a continuous process unlike previous theories. To her, neurosis had the obligation of making life bearable as a way of interpersonal organization and coping mechanisms (Hardy & Jackson, 2001). Her concept narrowed down to what she called neurotic needs that we all desire, but they somehow escape our presence due to varying difficulties in different people. These women remain sensational due to the era in which they lived and most importantly due to the theories they came up with. They stand out as great inspiration to other women in the field and the whole world.