The Shaping of Science by Ideology: How Feminism Inspired, Led, and Constrained Scientific Understanding of Sex and Gender

Alice H. Eagly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

When the Second Wave of feminism emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, feminist psychologists vigorously attacked earlier scholarship on gender for assuming that women's intrinsic nature accounts for their deficits of power and status. Consistent with the liberal, progressive ideology that has prevailed among feminist psychologists, most of their research on the psychology of gender instead found the causes of women's disadvantage in the social context of women's lives. In particular, social psychologists championed this perspective by providing evidence of the influence of gender stereotypes, social norms, organizational barriers, and sexist prejudices on the behavior of women and men. This approach de-emphasized other causes of women's disadvantage, notably the self-construals and personal goals that guide individual choices. In addition, many feminist psychologists rejected biological causation as sexist and reductionist, thereby participating minimally in research on interactive processes by which nature and nurture work together in producing sex differences and similarities. The challenge now facing feminist psychologists is to reach beyond ideological constraints to discover how social, self, and biological causes interact to produce the phenomena of gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-888
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Volume74
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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