chapter  2
19 Pages

History of the Study of Gender Development

In this chapter we will examine the scientifi c study of children’s gender development from the late 1800s through the mid 1970s. There are three reasons why we have included this chapter in the book. First, it is sometimes diffi cult to realize that the science of psychology is more than a century old, and that many questions that people are still researching today have a long history. The writings of philosophers served as the foundation for the science of psychology, and philosophers concerned themselves with the issues of sex and gender since the time of Plato and Aristotle (Salkever, 1990; Saunders, 1995). Sex differences have been studied scientifi cally since the 1600s (Graunt, 1662), and were examined by several scientists during the 1800s (Galton, 1883, 1894; Geddes & Thomson, 1897; Quetelet, 1830/1969). Many of these early philosophers and scientists saw males and females as opposites, and often found girls and women to be inferior to boys and men.