Women and Sociology

1. Generally speaking, when discussing the origins of a science or study, a frequently heard term is “the Founding Fathers”. This phrase right off the bat implies that the most important leading figures in that early history were males. Indeed while a large portion of notable sociologists were men there were 15 women whose names have been “edited from the text” so to speak. Though recognized and respected by their male contemporaries for the work they submitted and for their general high social standing, it would appear as if the following generations gradually lost more and more respect for their contributions until finally excluding them from the record all together. The text from Lengermann and Niebrugge-Brantley does not implictly state why these names were erased but in my opinion, implies a mixture of forgetfulness, lack of respect for women through the years, and of course, politics.

2. These women shared common issues and ideas that would play a crutial part in forming the young science of sociology and establishing its place in the sciences. Each of these women realized the importance of their work and that of their contemporaries. They often collaborated together to create essays and papers on issues of their times such as race and lynching. As American women in that time had yet to be given the rights they now enjoy, many of these women were involved with establishing cooperative housing for working women, gaining access to better employment, and overcoming the gender barriers that were all just a ‘normal’ part of life at that time. Though they all had their own sense of what the science of society should be, they understood the need to unite and made it their moral responsibility to do the most they could from their various walks of life.

3. Fortunately, while they may have been ‘written out’ of the standard history of sociology, we still have much information not to mention the thousands of books, essays, and articles written by these ‘Leading Ladies’. From the establishing of the Hull House by Jane Addams to the helping of organizing of the NAACP by Ida Wells-Barrnett to Women and Economics written by Charlotte Gilman, these accomplishments are well worth our study and respect. Indeed, much of the work done by these ladies is in the very basis and framework of what we know sociology to be today. It is every bit as much a development of women’s minds as is it men’s. Though erased in part, these women’s work will stand and speak for them for centuries to come.

By: Jess

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