#TIL Matthew, and Matilda Effect!

As I’m currently reading a paper by Robert K. Merton, a sociologist, on the Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action (cough *demonetization* cough), I decided to look him up on Wikipedia.

imagesAmong other things, he is credited with the Matthew Effect: “the phenomenon where “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”[1][2] In both its original and typical usage it is meant metaphorically to refer to issues of fame or status but it may also be used literally to refer to cumulative advantage of economic capital.

Also credited with the Matthew Effect is Harriet Zuckerman  (and the Wikipedia article notes that she is credit thus by virtue of the Matilda Effect).

The Matilda Effect is “the common bias against acknowledging the contribution of woman scientists in research, whose work is often attributed to their male colleagues. This effect was first described by 19th century suffragist and abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage in her essay “Woman as Inventor”, and coined in 1993 by science historian Margaret W. Rossiter.[1]

matildajoslyngage

Gage seems like a really incredible person: “.. was considered to be more radical than either Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton (with whom she wrote History of Woman Suffrage and Declaration of the Rights of Women).[4] Along with Stanton, she was a vocal critic of the Christian Church, which put her at odds with conservative suffragists such as Frances Willard and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Rather than arguing that women deserved the vote because their feminine morality would then properly influence legislation (as the WCTU did), she argued that they deserved suffrage as a ‘natural right’.

 

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