Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #185
Diversity submission Exploring the Impacts of Gender and Motherhood on Behavior Analysts, and Evaluating Possible Mitigation Strategies
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Independence Ballroom
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Hanna Vance (University of Florida)

Gender inequities, including disadvantages particularly plaguing mothers in the workplace, are well documented outside of behavior analysis. This symposium looks inward, at how these phenomena impact behavior analysts specifically. The symposium will begin by taking a closer look at how motherhood impacts behavior analysts, including observed effects that motherhood has on decision-making and relational biases, among others. The second presentation in this symposium will discuss pay and productivity disparities across women and men in behavior analysis academic positions. The final presentation in this symposium will introduce the idea of mitigating the effects of such inequities, by discussing findings and implications from a study that evaluated the effects of an electronic enhanced written instructions package on the accuracy of women-identifying behavior analysts’ email-negotiation skills. It is morally and ethically important to acknowledge and respond to inequities. Further, inequities (e.g., pay) have been associated with increased susceptibility to social conflict in the workplace, increased employee turnover, and thus warrant our attention and action (Adam Cobb et al., 2022; Breza et al., 2018).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): gender, motherhood, pay equity
Target Audience:

Necessary prerequisite skills include a basic understanding of probability discounting, visual and descriptive analyses, and teaching strategies rooted in ABA (e.g., task analyses, rehearsal, exemplar/nonexemplar presentations)

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify barriers that women and mothers in behavior analysis face, (2) identify how those barriers affect pay and productivity, and (3) access information about email negotiation skills
Diversity submission The Social Context of Motherhood and Its Impact in Behavior Analysis
KAM BARKER (Missouri State University), Chynna Brianne Frizell (Missouri State University), Maggie Adler (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University)
Abstract: Womanhood and motherhood are broad social constructs that intersect experiences of gender and parenting that can specifically disadvantage mothers in professional settings, including in the field of behavior analysis. A recent series of studies has demonstrated that women may be at a disadvantage in obtaining leadership positions, platform, equal pay, and scholarship opportunities compered to men in the field (Li et al., 2020; Rotta et al., 2022). Similar contextual contingencies can specifically impact mothers who may additionally experience primary parenting responsibilities and biased assumptions around being both a mother and a professional in the field. In the first study, non-mothers completed a probability discounting task in the hypothetical scenario of motherhood and showed greater risk-aversion, and the opposite outcome was observed in mothers in the hypothetical scenario of non-motherhood, suggesting motherhood has a contextual influence on decision-making. In the second study, different functional contexts (C-funcs) were presented along with parenting status and familial variables revealing that relational biases may be greatest for mothers over non-mothers in professional settings where women experience fewer opportunities in behavior analysis. Implications for supporting mothers in the field are discussed.
Diversity submission Gender Equity in Research and Academia in Behavior Analysis
PAIGE BOYDSTON (Pittsburg State University), Natalia Baires (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Ryan N. Redner (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
Abstract: Research into pay disparities has been on the rise in behavior analysis, yet the focus has been more heavily on the observable outcomes of disparate pay and opportunities to professionals. Specifically, research has focused on editorial board participation by gender, pay inequities by gender, and publication rates by gender. Research has rarely focused on the environmental variables (e.g., academic workloads across genders, allocated research time) that may contribute to or exacerbate resultant disparities. The purpose of the present study was to investigate and identify environmental variables impacting disparities across genders specific to those working in academics and research. A survey was distributed to collect information regarding items such as time spent in paid research, research funding, participation in publications and other professional events specific to research, and overall pay. The sample included a total of 67 individuals (54 females and 13 males), all working at a university. It was observed that female respondents engaged in less research time, with only 13.9% of their paid work week dedicated to research while male respondents engaged in research time for 27.8% of their paid work week. Overall, the identified productivity outcomes (e.g., rate of publication submissions and publications) was lower for female respondents when compared to male respondents, an outcome that corresponds with the relative paid time in research. Furthermore, more male respondents were observed in higher academic ranks compared to female respondents. Female respondents had been in the field an average of 13.6 years with an average annual pay of $68,727 and male respondents had been in the field an average of 12.2 years with an average annual pay of $80,649.
Diversity submission Evaluating the Effects of an Electronic Enhanced-Written Instructions Package on the Email Negotiation Skills of Women-Identifying Behavior Analysts
HANNA VANCE (University of Florida), J Turner Braren (University of Kansas), Corina Jimenez-Gomez (University of Florida), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Certain groups of workers, particularly women-identifying and other historically marginalized individuals, face inequitable circumstances in the workplace. Such inequities are often manifested through recruitment, hiring, funding allocation processes, insufficient advancement opportunities, and limited child-care supports. These imbalances can have long-term negative outcomes, like diminished retirement savings and pensions. Fortunately, there are organizational and behavioral solutions that may help reduce some of the impacts of existing inequities (e.g., parental leave, higher pay), and workers can attempt to access these through negotiating. Babcock and Laschevar (2003) hypothesize that negotiating at the start of a career can produce a gain of more than half a million dollars by the end of a career. Despite this potential outcome, women specifically tend to have lower expectations when starting new jobs compared to men and are less likely to initiate negotiations at all. The current study set out to evaluate the effects of an electronic enhanced written instructions (EWI) intervention consisting of step-by-step instructions, examples, interactive components, and limited technical jargon to teach women identifying BCBAs email negotiation skills. Preliminary findings suggest that access to EWI resources immediately improved adherence to email negotiation steps.



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