George S. Ledyard
The ASU has quite a number of female 6th Dans:
Raso Hultgren, Patty Saotome, Wendy Whited, Robin Cooper, Yuki Hara, Sara Bluestone, Christine Jordan and Wendy Palmer (I don't think I am forgetting anyone). We don't have any 7th Dans, male or female, except Ikeda Sensei nor does Saotome Sensei use the Fukushidoin, Shidoin, Shihan designations as set up by the aikikai.
Interesting...so are teaching licenses exclusive to Aikikai? Do other schools use them?
Lyle, I have a copy of "Women in Aikido", and also noticed how many of those women are no longer practicing Aikido for one reason or the other. I have also noticed that many folks in Aikido (in contrast to several other martial art practitioners) are simply unconcerned with tests and rank. And yes, women are generally more apt to take a break or stop training altogether if they have children...though on the flip side, why can't the man "take a break" from training to take care of the kids...but I digress.
As a woman, I enjoy opportunities to train with senior female instructors - especially because my dojo doesn't have any female blackbelts (yet). And I do think it is important for women to have role models in this *still* male-dominated martial art. Hopefully, more women will stay in the art and rise through the ranks.