The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 225–227 | Cite as

Prominent Women in Behavior Analysis: An Introduction

  • Melissa R. NosikEmail author
  • Laura L. Grow
Original Article

Today is an exciting time for women in behavior analysis. Over the years, multiple articles have documented increases in women’s participation in behavior analysis (e.g., McSweeney and Swindell 1998; McSweeney et al. 2000; Myers 1993; Poling et al. 1983; Simon et al. 2007). Contemporary data, however, depict an even more striking degree of participation. For example, 82.2 % of Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) certificants are female,1 including 68.3 % of those who are certified at the doctoral level (i.e., BCBA-D™). These data represent a 148 % increase in female certificants over the last 15 years. The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) reported that 52 % of their full members in 2014 were women (personal communication ABAI, April 7, 2015).2 Female authors accounted for 55.5 % of authors who published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) in 2014. These data represent a 142 % increase since the first volume of JABAwas published in 1968....


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Author Note

We are grateful to Judy Favell, Linda LeBlanc, Frances McSweeney, Anna Pétursdóttir, Carol Pilgrim, Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, and Bridget Taylor for sharing their histories and providing such thoughtful guidance in these interviews. We also thank Jim Carr for his generous guidance during this project.

The content of this article does not reflect an official position of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Ethics Statement

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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  2. McSweeney, F. K., & Swindell, S. (1998). Women in the experimental analysis of behavior. The Behavior Analyst, 21, 193–202.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Myers, D. L. (1993). Participation by women in behavior analysis: II. 1992. The Behavior Analyst, 16, 75–86.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. (2015). Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2015. Special Report NSF 15–311. Arlington, VA. Retrieved from:
  5. Poling, A., Grossett, D., Fulton, B., Roy, S., Beechler, S., & Wittkopp, C. J. (1983). Participation by women in behavior analysis. The Behavior Analyst, 6, 145–152.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Simon, J. L., Morris, E. K., & Smith, N. G. (2007). Trends in women’s participation at the meetings of the Association for Behavior Analysis: 1975–2005. The Behavior Analyst, 30, 181–196.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavior Analyst Certification BoardLittletonUSA
  2. 2.The University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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