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Black Women and Barriers to Leadership in ABA


In recent years, anecdotal data have suggested an increase in the number of Black women in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA). However, there does not appear to be a significant increase in the number of Black women in leadership roles within the field (e.g., clinical directors, heads of university and college ABA programs). Since the diversity of providers and leadership in the field is an important factor in effectively meeting the diverse needs of ABA consumers, the lack of Black women leaders in the field can be described as problematic. Identification of the potential barriers some Black women face when pursuing and attaining positions of leadership in the field of ABA, such as a lack of diversity, stereotypes, and insufficient access to mentors and sponsors, may serve as an effective first step to ameliorating the problem. Recommendations to address identified barriers, including a conceptually systemic plan for data collection that includes racial and gender data, paired with the use of reflective practice by ABA practitioners, and additional diversity and inclusion research in the area of organizational behavior management. Recommendations are offered.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Cirincione-Ulezi, N. Black Women and Barriers to Leadership in ABA. Behav Analysis Practice 13, 719–724 (2020).

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  • ABA
  • BCBA
  • Black women
  • Diversity
  • Inclusion
  • Leadership