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Journal Article

The Matthew Matilda Effect in Science

Margaret W. Rossiter
Social Studies of Science
Vol. 23, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 325-341
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/285482
Page Count: 17
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The Matthew Matilda Effect in Science
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Abstract

Recent work has brought to light so many cases, historical and contemporary, of women scientists who have been ignored, denied credit or otherwise dropped from sight that a sex-linked phenomenon seems to exist, as has been documented to be the case in other fields, such as medicine, art history and literary criticism. Since this systematic bias in scientific information and recognition practices fits the second half of Matthew 13:12 in the Bible, which refers to the under-recognition accorded to those who have little to start with, it is suggested that sociologists of science and knowledge can add to the 'Matthew Effect', made famous by Robert K. Merton in 1968, the 'Matilda Effect', named for the American suffragist and feminist critic Matilda J. Gage of New York, who in the late nineteenth century both experienced and articulated this phenomenon. Calling attention to her and this age-old tendency may prod future scholars to include other such 'Matildas' and thus to write a better, because more comprehensive, history and sociology of science.

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