Florence Denmark is a contemporary psychologist who has conducted extensive research into the psychology of women.
Florence Denmark was born in Philadelphia on January 28, 1932. Her father was a lawyer and her mother, a musician. Denmark’s parents stressed the importance of their daughter’s academic achievement. Their encouragement helped Denmark to pursue her own academic goals, regardless of her gender.
Denmark attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1952, with undergraduate degrees in both psychology and history. The following year, she married Stanley Denmark, an orthodontist, and continued studying at the university to obtain her PhD in social psychology. Denmark and her husband had three children and later divorced. Denmark was remarried in 1973 to Robert Wesner.
In 1960, Denmark took an adjunct faculty position at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) while she and her husband started their family. There, Denmark met Marcia Guttentag, a friend and colleague with whom she began to explore the effects of racial integration, college for older women, and the psychological impact felt by immigrants within the country.
Denmark took a position at CUNY’s Hunter College in 1964. After ten years, she received full professorship and went on to hold the distinguished position as the first recipient of the Robert Scott Pace Professorship at Pace University.
Denmark was the fifth woman to be elected to serve as president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1980. She also participated in the founding of the Association for Women in Psychology and the Division on the Psychology of Women of the American Psychological Association in 1973.
Contribution to Psychology
Denmark focused much of her studies on the psychology of women and played an integral role in promoting research into the psychology of women. She is seen by many, because of her tireless efforts and years of research in the field, as the founder of the field of psychology of women. She co-authored The Psychology of Women: Future Directions of Research as well as Women: Dependent or Independent Variable?
Denmark has been a pioneer in bringing to light the achievements of women in psychology. Denmark advocates for the empowerment of women and strives to enlighten and encourage all women to continue to work toward their full potential, as she herself continues to support women of all ages through her work with the United Nations and other organizations throughout the world.
Denmark has received many awards for her numerous contributions to her field, including the Senior Leadership Award from the Committee on Women in Psychology, the Carolyn Wood Sherif Award from the APA, and the Association for Women in Psychology Distinguished Career Award.
In honor of Denmark's efforts, the APA's Society for the Psychology of Women introduced the Florence L. Denmark Award for Contributions to Women and Aging in 2010.