Category: Women's Issues / Gender

Symposium

Using Women's Participation in ABCT to Evaluate the Representation of Women in Clinical Psychology: Annual Meetings

Sunday, November 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo 204, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Women's Issues | Professional Issues
Presentation Type: Symposium

The underrepresentation of women in advanced positions and leadership roles is commonly attributed to a “pipeline problem” – underrepresentation in higher-level positions is inevitable when too few women choose to enter a given field. Clinical psychology presents a challenge to this model, as women have earned the majority of doctoral degrees in the field for over three decades. As a leading professional organization for clinical psychologists and professionals in related fields, the Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies can be viewed as a microcosm of this field as a whole. This series of analyses demonstrates that, despite representation in ABCT as members, women are overrepresented in less prestigious roles typical of early-career stages and underrepresented in more prestigious and advanced roles.


We have conducted a systematic review of women’s participation in various roles in ABCT’s annual meetings each year since 2013. Over this timeframe, the proportion of ABCT members who are women increased from 50% in 2013 to 68% in 2016. Comparisons of the proportion of women in each role to annual membership statistics highlight consistent patterns of over- and under-representation: women are overrepresented as poster authors and symposium chairs and underrepresented as clinical roundtable moderators and panelists, workshop and mini-workshop leaders, panelists, and symposium discussants. Women have also historically been underrepresented in leadership positions and as award recipients. There is evidence that women’s participation in some roles has increased over time, but this has not yielded proportionate representation in these roles. Women are systematically underrepresented in roles that ABCT members rate as high-prestige and that are associated with more advanced career stages.


 Overall, these findings suggest that there are significant barriers to the retention of women in ABCT. While women represent a majority of current ABCT members and are most actively involved in conference roles associated with the student/trainee career stage, the representation of women systematically decreases in more advanced roles and prestigious positions. 

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