By Emaley McCulloch, M.Ed, BCBA
bSci21 Contributing Writer
Women in Behavior Analysis (WIBA) is a behavior analytic conference coming March 9-10, 2017 to Nashville TN! Men and women who are interested in behavior analysis are encouraged to attend and show support at this inaugural event. The purpose of this conference is to highlight the accomplishments of women in the field, while also engaging both sexes in meaningful discourse about gender equality for the promotion of behavior analysis.
As the field of behavior analysis has grown over the years, so has the number of female professionals and researchers. In 2001, women started to outnumber men in terms of ABAI membership. In 2015, 82.2% of Behavior Analyst Certification Board Certificants® we female, which is a 148% increase in female certificants in the past 15 years (Nosik & Grow, 2015). It’s not hard to see when attending ABA conferences that the men are outnumbered. Although women outnumber men at conferences, they are often underrepresented in prestigious activities such as invited or keynote speakers (Simon, Morris & Smith, 2007) which is true for sciences in general (Cole, 1987). This may be due to women participating in applied work more often than in research roles (Simon, et.al. 2007). At this point in time, there may be less prestige associated with applied work in behavior analysis.
WIBA will be the first conference to highlight the applied work and research contributions of women in our field. This event is being organized by Devon Sundberg, Kim Zoder-Martell and Sarah Cox from Indiana. The Facebook page was announced on May 10th and received over a thousand followers in one day! In an interview with the founders, they expressed interest in establishing WIBA as an organization or a Special Interest Group and will work with leaders in our field and from responses received at the conference to determine how WIBA can best be shaped in the future.
Another important mission of WIBA is to create mentorship opportunities between early career behavior analysts and experienced professionals. Devon Sundberg noted, “We believe that it is extremely important to ensure that women are respected as scientists and leaders in the field of behavior analysis. We also want to empower early career behavior analysts by highlighting the contributions of prolific women in the field and by providing support and mentorship to women who are new to the field.” There are so many amazing women mentors in our field that do not always get a place in the spotlight where we can all learn from them.
The keynote speakers for the upcoming event are Linda LeBlanc and Frances McSweeney. Additional speakers and a call for papers will be announced via Facebook and Twitter.
Are you excited about the WIBA conference? Who are some of the women in the field of Behavior Analysis that have inspired or shaped your career? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox! See you all in Nashville!
Cole J.R. (1987) Women in science. In: Jackson D.N, Rushton J.P, editors. Scientific excellence: Origins and assessment. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage; pp. 359–375.
Nosik, M.R., & Grow, L.L., (2015) Prominent Women in Behavior Analysis: An Introduction. The Behavior Analyst. 38: 225-227
Simon JL, Morris EK, Smith NG, (2007). Trends in women’s participation at the meetings of the Association for Behavior Analysis: 1975–2005. The Behavior Analyst 30:181–196
Emaley McCulloch, M.Ed, BCBA co-founded Autism Training Solutions, LLC in 2008, and is currently the Vice President of Relias Institute at Relias Learning. Relias Learning is the premier provider of online health care training for Health and Human Services, Senior Care and Public Safety. Emaley is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds an MA in Special Education. She has served in the field of ABA for over 18 years and has provided and overseen services to individuals between the ages of 18 months to 24 years in homes, schools and clinical settings. For eight years she served as a consultant and supervisor at agencies based in Hawaii and Japan where she trained groups of professionals and parents. Emaley’s passion is elearning, staff training, dissemination of evidenced-based interventions, research, film and videography and using technology in the field of behavior analysis and special education. You can contact her at email@example.com.