Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Laura Sockol
Approximately 75% of doctoral degrees in psychology are awarded to women. However, women are vastly under-represented in upper-level roles. In this way, psychology differs from other STEM fields; psychology’s problem is not recruiting women but rather retaining them (the “leaky pipeline” problem). To examine women’s representation in clinical psychology, we examined the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) as a microcosm of the field. ABCT is a major conference where clinical psychologists gather to learn about and discuss major issues and developments in clinical psychology. The goal of this study was to evaluate women’s participation in ABCT’s annual meetings since 1993. Program guides from 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013 were obtained and coded for participant gender (based on first name) and role (e.g., symposium author, panel moderator). Role prestige was measured from a prior survey in which ABCT members ranked conference roles by prestige. Chi-square tests for goodness of fit compared the proportion of women in each role to the overall proportion of female conference participants each year. Results showed that women were consistently under-represented in the most prestigious roles at the conference, such as symposium discussant and institute leader. In addition, Z-tests were conducted to examine changes in women’s representation over time. Results gave little evidence that women’s under-representation in prestigious roles has improved over time. There is a consistent pattern of decreasing women’s representation as role prestige increases, as well as evidence that women are better represented in self-initiated roles compared to invited roles. ABCT and similar organizations should focus on supporting women in mid- and later-career stages and provide opportunities for advancement of women in the organization. Conference organizers should be aware of implicit gender bias and prioritize inviting women for more prestigious roles (e.g., discussants, invited panelists).