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Copyright (c) 2000 The American Academy of Political and
Social Science
The Annals of The American Academy of Political and
Social Science

ARTICLE: Feminism in Psychology: Revolution or Evolution?

September, 2000

571 Annals 183


By Judith Worell


IN this article, I discuss the extent to which the feminist movement has altered the focus and direction of psychology as a discipline and the major contributions of feminism to psychological theory, research, and practice. Feminist psychologists have opened doors to the opportunities for a revised discipline by asking new questions, naming new problems, challenging research priorities, giving voice to the invisible woman, revising applied practice (the practice of psychology in clinical and other settings), and applying research findings to public advocacy.

The introduction of feminist scholarship and research to the field of psychology has been relatively recent. Feminist psychologists generally endorse a common core of principles, but we are also confronted by controversies that divide and challenge us. Challenge comes also from mainstream psychology, which has been alternately accommodating, ambivalent, or clearly inhospitable. The story of the feminist movement itself has reflected struggle and dissension, but the movement has achieved and retained its positive outlook by resolving conflict through consensus and constructive action toward personal and social change. Feminist psychologists follow a similar path. The feminist revolution in psychology has not overturned the profession, but the evolving influence of feminism continues. I conclude that the impact of feminism on the future of psychology will be significant and robust.


Psychology is dedicated to the study of human development, cognition, and behavior within a diversity of environments. It is a young discipline, established as an institution in 1892 with the inception of the American Psychological ...
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