Reflections on the Glass Ceiling: Women in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

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The Behavior Analyst






Association for Behavior Analysis International

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McSweeney and Swindell (1998) sought to determine whether men and women are treated equitably in the experimental analysis of behavior. They purported to show that women participate less in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior than in similar journals and that the participation of women decreases with increases in selectivity. Their data were difficult to interpret, however, because they did not present the variability in the mean data drawn from different individuals over time. My analyses were not in accord with their conclusions. When the percentage of associate editors who are women was considered along with the mean percentages McSweeney and Swindell reported for other measures, participation did not systematically decrease with increases in selectivity in recent years. As quantified in terms of their number of publications in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, women who were editorial board members and associate editors were not more highly selected than their male counterparts. Finally, in the recent period from 1996 to 1998, although women submitted fewer manuscripts to the journal, rejection ratios did not differ for men and women. Efforts to increase the participation of women in the experimental analysis of behavior may best be directed toward recruitment and retention rather than some of the suggestions proposed by McSweeney and Swindell (1998), which could inadvertently create different standards for women's work.


Originally published by the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Publisher's PDF and article fulltext available through remote link.