Women in Higher Education

By W. Todd Furniss; Patricia Albjerg Graham | Go to book overview

The Talent Pool

Where Are All the Talented Women?

Helen S. Astin

Since the start of efforts by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for contract compliance in colleges and universities and the subsequent pressures put on noncomplying institutions to develop affirmative action plans, we have witnessed a considerable effort being made by institutions of higher education to identify and recruit women for their faculties.

An actual situation will illustrate some of the problems inherent in the present system of identifying and recruiting professionally trained women, and also suggest some procedures that potential employers might use in their efforts to recruit and hire women.

As chairperson of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force on the Status of Women in Psychology, I receive many requests, averaging two per week, to suggest women candidates for various positions. Usually a search committee or an academic administrator identifies and describes a position and then requests the Task Force to publicize the position among individual women psychologists or among other groups concerned with the status of women. Sometimes the Task Force is asked to supply a list of names of potential candidates.

At first, we would suggest the names of a few women whom we knew personally. Occasionally, we would also search the biographical Directory of the American Psychological Association to provide the recruiters with a list of appropriate names. We would also mail a copy of the position description to the Association for Women Psychologists (AWP)--a caucus of women psychologists--which would in turn publicize the position to its list of members.

Over time, however, we began to see that these efforts might not do justice to the women who were less visible or who were not members of special groups such as the AWP. Thus, the Task Force moved to develop a roster of all women members of the American Psychological Association in order to facilitate the re-

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