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Many Ceilings Yet to Crack

From the Washington Post

October 14, 2009
My initial reaction to the news that a woman had won the Nobel Prize in economics for the first time was simple: Great! My second reaction was a bit more churlish: What took so long? Why aren't we done with these "firsts" yet? I'm 50 -- okay, 51 -- so the course of my lifetime tracks the biggest transformation in history of the role of women. Barrier after outmoded barrier has gone the way of the girdle, and thank goodness.

What Women Want Now

From TIME Magazine

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009
By Nancy Gibbs
If you were a woman reading this magazine 40 years ago, the odds were good that your husband provided the money to buy it. That you voted the same way he did. That if you got breast cancer, he might be asked to sign the form authorizing a mastectomy. That your son was heading to college but not your daughter. That your boss, if you had a job, could explain that he was paying you less because, after all, you were probably working just for pocket money.

Bay Path Professor Among Paleoecology Researchers Studying 4.4 Million-Year-Old Skeleton

October 12, 2009
From the fossilized teeth of ancient giraffes, antelopes and horses, scientist Gina Semprebon can begin to draw a prehistoric landscape. Tooth wear tells Semprebon what the animals of a region ate — whether they tore leaves from trees or chomped on grass. With the types of plants revealed and other evidence from fossils and soil, Semprebon and her fellow scientists can unfold a panorama of long-ago forests and fields, rivers that flowed and the climate that ruled a region's seasonal changes.

This is paleoecology, the study of ancient ecosystems. Semprebon, a biology professor at Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Mass., is widely known in the emerging field and was part of a recent study that changed the book on human evolution.

Robin Chase, Wellesley ‘80, Honored as Member of Time Magazine’s Green Roundtable

October 14, 2009
Robin Chase , Meadow Networks CEO and Zipcar co-founder

On the car of the future
The cost of owning and operating a car today is about 18% of the average American's income — about $8,500 a year. That doesn't include what we are going to see over the next five years, which is increased fossil-fuel prices, increased congestion taxes, increased parking costs in cities. So the car of the future will be a shared car that's fully used, because I won't be paying for the parking space and I will be driving it very little.

The New Gender Gap


October 4, 2009
At first blush, the history of women in the workplace seems a trajectory of success. From the assumption that they would be secretaries to the expectation that they can be C.E.O.’s, they have crashed through ceilings (though not enough of them), made workplaces more flexible (not completely, but significantly) and transformed the face of work. They have gone from holding 34.9 percent of all jobs 40 years ago to 49.8 percent today. They are on track to hold more than half of them any moment now; it might have happened while you were reading this.

Facebook: The New Classroom Commons?

September 28, 2009

A neighbor is busy, a colleague is tired, a long-lost friend wants to know which 80s band best describes me. A few of my students are stressed about their forthcoming internships, and another is working on her research. I know this because their Facebook postings tell me so.

Women at Arms Part III

September 27, 2009
Wartime Soldier, Conflicted Mom
When Specialist Jaymie Holschlag returned home after 12 months in Iraq, a new set of children awaited her. Her son, Seth, 10, who had moved in with his grandfather, switching towns and schools, was angry and depressed. His grades had plummeted and his weight had ballooned by 60 pounds. Her 4-year-old daughter, Celeste, scarcely knew her. And in Specialist Holschlag’s absence, new rules had taken hold — chocolate syrup on waffles, Mountain Dew with dinner. Any hint of a return to the old order met with tirades and tantrums.

Making the Value of Women’s Colleges Matter to Your Female Advisees


September 26, 2009
Baltimore Maryland
Diane Anci – Dean of Admission at Mount Holyoke College, Jenn Desjarlais – Dean of Admission at Wellesley College, Heidi Fletcher – Vice President for Enrollment Management at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Susan Lennon – President of the Women’s College, and Dana Weekes – Wellesley ’03 spoke at the national conference of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The Surprise at My 50th Reunion

September 24, 2009
Wellesley College’s Class of 1959 grows up and out.
By Judith Martin
Fifty years ago this summer, I left Wellesley College with a sense of superiority that would have startled anyone who had seen my grades. The pleasure I now get from attending reunions does not arise from the traditional rewards of discovering old rivals who have aged badly or old beaux who have not. (Anyway, at a women’s college, the old beaux would only be there if they had married one’s classmates.)

Five Women’s College Alumnae Among Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women

September 15, 2009

In 1998 when the Most Powerful Women in Business list premiered, just two of our honorees ran Fortune 500 companies. This year 13 do.

Would Women Have Helped Avert Wall Street Crash?

September 13, 2009
Would Wall Street have crashed as badly a year ago if women were in charge? Maybe not, says Barnard College president Debora Spar. She tells host Guy Raz about research that suggests higher levels of testosterone may lead to riskier financial decisions.

Why Attending a Womens’ College is a Great Idea

By Lynn O'Shaughnessy
August 31, 2009
If someone asked me to name the 10 most amazing experiences of my life, this would be No. 4 on my list: Attending an all girls’ school.

Spending four years at a girls’ high school was life changing. I not only received a first-class education, but I regained the confidence that slipped away during my middle-schools years and I discovered that boys aren’t the only ones who can be leaders.

College of Notre Dame of Maryland is Pharmacy Pioneer

Classes today will be the first at an American women's school
By Childs Walker | August 24, 2009

From his job at a drug company in San Diego, Patrick Donohue could see how much the nation needed pharmacists. So the Baltimore native made a practical decision to go back to school and train for a career that seemed recession-proof.

What he didn't realize is that he'd also get to be a pioneer.

When Donohue and 69 others start courses at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland today, they will become the first class of the first school of pharmacy at an American women's college. Notre Dame will become the second institution in Maryland to train professional pharmacists.

3 Colleges to Offer Combined Curricula

Wellesley, Olin, Babson team up
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff | August 24, 2009

WELLESLEY - Wellesley College will launch a unique collaboration this fall with two neighboring schools with very different missions, as part of an effort to offer students from each of the colleges a more diverse educational experience at little additional cost. At a time when many colleges have been forced to cut back and reevaluate what they offer, the elite liberal arts school for women has found common ground with Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, a tiny school just 7 years old, and Babson College, a business school with an entrepreneurial bent.

The Daughter Deficit


August 23, 2009
In the late 1970s, a Ph.D. student named Monica Das Gupta was conducting anthropological fieldwork in Haryana, a state in the north of India. She observed something striking about families there: parents had a fervent preference for male offspring. Women who had given birth to only daughters were desperate for sons and would keep having children until they had one or two. Midwives were even paid less when a girl was born. “It’s something you notice coming from outside,” says Das Gupta, who today studies population and public health in the World Bank’s development research group. “It just leaps out at you.”

The Women's Crusade


August 23, 2009

IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.

Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.

The Power of the Purse


August 23, 2009
Remember the concept of “sisterhood”? That quaint relic of an idea that women owed it to other women to crash through ceilings and navigate a male world? It just might be taking new root in a most unexpected place — among women with money. There are more women controlling more wealth in the U.S. than ever before. (Of those in the wealthiest tier of the country — defined by the I.R.S. as individuals with assets of at least $1.5 million — 43 percent are women.) And unlike the women who preceded them — old-school patrons who gave to the museum and the symphony and their dead husbands’ alma maters — these givers are more likely to use their wealth deliberately and systematically to aid women in need.

A New Gender Agenda


August 23, 2009
Hillary Rodham Clinton staked her claim as an advocate for global women’s issues in 1995, when, as first lady, she gave an impassioned speech at a United Nations conference in Beijing. As secretary of state, she pushed to create a new position, ambassador at large for global women’s issues, and recruited Melanne Verveer, her former chief of staff, to fill it. And she has drawn attention to women at nearly every stop in her travels, most recently on an 11-day visit to Africa, during which, among other things, she went to eastern Congo to speak out against mass rape. Hours before leaving on that trip, Clinton discussed women’s issues and the Obama administration’s foreign policy for 35 minutes in her elegant seventh-floor office at the State Department. What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.

Madame President


August 23, 2009
Questions for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
As the only female head of state in Africa, what did you think of the recent documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” which gives the women of Liberia complete credit for ending the country’s bloody civil war?
I have seen it, and I applaud the women who sat in the rain and sun promoting peace, advocating reconciliation and the end to the war. I say our country owes them a whole lot.

A School Bus for Shamsia


August 23, 2009
EVEN BEFORE THE men with acid came, the Mirwais Mena School for Girls was surrounded by enemies. It stood on the outskirts of Kandahar, barely 20 miles from the hometown of Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder. Just down the road from the school, in an area known as Old Town, residents had built a shrine to Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban commander with the fiercest reputation, who made his name by massacring members of the Hazara minority. He was killed in an American-led operation in 2007. Also nearby sat the Sarposa Prison, where, in June 2008, Taliban fighters and suicide bombers attacked, freeing more than a thousand criminals and comrades. The area around the Mirwais Mena School is the Taliban heartland. Teaching girls to read was not something that would escape their notice. Across the country, the Taliban have made the destruction of schools, particularly schools for girls, a hallmark of their war.

Women’s College Alumnae Among Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women

Eight graduates of women’s colleges and three graduates of former women’s colleges are among Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in 2009:

Slum Daughters' Champion: Native Son's Gift To Nairobi Girls Opens Door To Brighter Future

By BETHE DUFRESNE, August 19, 2009
One by one, the women stood up to tell their stories.

They were mothers, in one case a grandmother, to some of the 45 girls chosen from more than 300 applicants to form the premiere class of the first school for girls in Kibera, Nairobi's largest slum.

Kennedy Odede, his English even more fluid after completing his first year at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., translated from Kiswahili for the guests from Connecticut-based American Friends of Kenya.

Women at Arms Part II

August 17, 2009
Living and Fighting Alongside Men, and Fitting In
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq — There is no mistaking that this dusty, gravel-strewn camp northeast of Baghdad is anything other than a combat outpost in a still-hostile land. And there is no mistaking that women in uniform have had a transformative effect on it.

They have their own quarters, boxy trailers called CHUs (the military’s acronym for containerized housing units, pronounced “chews”).

Women at Arms Part I

August 16, 2009
G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier
As the convoy rumbled up the road in Iraq, Specialist Veronica Alfaro was struck by the beauty of fireflies dancing in the night. Then she heard the unmistakable pinging of tracer rounds and, in a Baghdad moment, realized the insects were illuminated bullets.

She jumped from behind the wheel of her gun truck, grabbed her medical bag and sprinted 50 yards to a stalled civilian truck. On the way, bullets kicked up dust near her feet. She pulled the badly wounded driver to the ground and got to work.

Grace Abounds

^ click to enlarge

Making a multifaith campus chapel work
By Kate Colussy-Estes, July/August 2009

A YEAR AGO THIS SPRING, AS we dedicated the new Julia Thompson Smith Chapel on our campus, one of the highlights was the multifaith blessing. It was an exciting occasion, the completion of the first freestanding chapel in the 120-year history of Agnes Scott College (Ga.). I reflected on months of watching from my office window as it went from nothing more than a hole in the ground to the beautiful building it is today.