Golbeck Aimed to Empower, Motivate Women During Symposium

By Kev' Moye

Golbeck — associate dean for academic affairs in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health — said she was proud to take part in an event that celebrates the contributions of women in statistics and research.

“It was a huge honor for me,” she said. “I was the only non-Canadian on the panel. I’m pleased to have new friends in Canada to work with on gender equity issues. It was my first time presenting at the conference. In fact, it was also my first time attending the conference. The event was excellent.”

Among the tenets of the SSC Women in Statistics Committee is to improve the status of professional women statisticians and to address challenges for women in the profession. Golbeck’s lecture adhered to those principles.

“I presented some history on the academic women’s movement, which began in 1968,” she said. “I also presented data on how women are still underrepresented in the field of statistics. My goal was to get women to think of themselves as leaders, to motivate them to pursue the development of their leadership and to catalyze them to seek leadership opportunities.”

For decades Golbeck has focused on helping women reach equal footing with their counterparts. Among her major efforts for equality was writing a proposal to the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. Golbeck’s proposal addressed how the Joint Statistical Meetings conference had no lectures named after women. Thanks in part to her proposal, the annual conference now has two featured lectureships that are named after women.

Then in 2016, Golbeck published a book, Leadership and Women in Statistics. The text caught the attention of the chair of the Women in Statistics Committee Symposium. That led to Golbeck receiving an invite to speak at this year’s conference.

“I have an international reputation in the area of gender equity in statistics,” she said. “That book and the conference had the same topic. The book is well received, even all these years after it was first published.”

Golbeck said that events like the symposium not only provide empowerment and a chance to network, but they also give information that can help women position themselves to enter leadership positions.

“These types of events give attendees an increased awareness of gender equity issues and a realization that their situation is not unique,” she said. “They provide ideas about what can be done about their situations. They set the stage for inclusion of women and supportive men.”