An initiative coming out of the White House that looks at encouraging girls of colour to participate in social and behavioural sciences will be developed in collaboration with a York University professor and an alumna.
Psychology Professor Alexandra Rutherford and York U PhD graduate Cathy Faye were invited to Washington, D.C. to meet with Dr. Kimberlyn Leary, advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls, to discuss the council’s initiatives that look at improving the lives of women and girls of colour. The council was established in 2009 by President Barack Obama to work with federal executive departments and agencies to ensure the diverse needs of women and girls are considered in policies, programs and legislation.
Also invited to the Aug. 24 meeting was Shari Miles-Cohen, director of the Women’s Programs Office of the American Psychological Association.
Rutherford, who was called on for her expertise in the field, is the director of a well-known online research project, Psychology’s Feminist Voices (www.feministvoices.com), that archives the history of women and girls in psychology. She also serves on the Cummings Centre for the History of Psychology (CCHP). Faye is the assistant director of CCHP.
The team met to discuss integrating the council’s mandate into a newly developed Museum Day event, which will be an expansion of the annual fall Museum Day Live program sponsored by the Smithsonian. The new event will take place on March 12, 2016, and will continue to advocate the importance and value of museums.
“Dr. Leary is interested in how we might help further that initiative to encourage and promote the participation of girls of colour in the museum … and in life after the museum,” said Rutherford.
Preliminary discussions led to the idea for a digital exhibit using information and data drawn from Psychology’s Feminist Voices, which features more than 250 original profiles of women in psychology and more than 100 interviews with women psychologists.
“It’s kind of exciting that the Council on Women and Girls is interested in highlighting history as a way to promote the hidden histories of diverse women in psychology,” she said.
The team has yet to determine what the Museum Day digital exhibit will look like, but hopes to have a proposal in Leary’s hands by Sept. 15. Leary will then present the vision to other groups involved with the council.
By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile deputy editor