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Henry Fowle Durant

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For the founder of the University of California, see Henry Durant.

Henry Fowle Durant (February 22, 1822 – October 3, 1881) was an American lawyer and philanthropist, as well as the founder of Wellesley College.

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  • ✪ Cracking the Glass Ceiling: Women Presidents and the Changing University
  • ✪ Georgia Tech Spring 2017 Commencement Bachelor Ceremony, Morning


Welcome everyone. My name is Jean Howard. I'm chair of the Pembroke Center Associates Council and I'm delighted to welcome you to tonight's roundtable, "Cracking the Glass Ceiling: Women Presidents and the Changing University." When I went to Brown in the late 1960s, I had exactly two women professors during my four years as an undergraduate. During the time I was a PhD Student at Yale in the early 1970s, I had no women professors. And in those days, it was almost impossible to think that some day women would be presidents of such prestigious Ivy institutions. Tonight, we are here in part to celebrate the changes that have occurred during the last 40 years, and it's important to remember that positive change does happen, and to think critically about the social and institutional factors that still impede the realization of full gender and racial equity in institutions of higher education as in society at large. At Brown, the Pembroke Center, founded in 1981, has played an especially important role in keeping feminist concerns alive, and in keeping the conversation around those concerns both serious and evolving. As an interdisciplinary research center, the Pembroke Center produces critical scholarship on gender, and on other issues of difference such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and religion. Supported by the Pembroke Center Associates, alumni, friends, and parents such as myself, the Center not only facilitates teaching and scholarship, but also develops archives, preserving the history of women at Brown, as well as the rich history of feminist theory in the academy, and it brings together faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students from the humanities, the social sciences, and the life sciences for collaborative research and conversation. It is the Pembroke Center that is sponsoring tonight's event as part of its contribution to Brown's 250th Anniversary Celebration. President Paxson will be mentioning another important event the Center is also sponsoring, a fascinating exhibit, "The Lamphere Case: The Sex Discrimination Case that Changed Brown" on display in Pembroke Hall from now until commencement, and I urge you all to go visit that exhibit. At Brown, we have become, I am happy to say, a little accustomed to female leadership, and it is very sweet to say those words. Ruth Simmons led Brown during an important period of growth from 2001 to 2012, and now we have the wonderful Christina Paxson as our 19th president. Let me introduce her very briefly. After receiving a BA from Swarthmore, President Paxson then earned a Ph.D. in economics at Columbia University, and in 1997, she was hired as an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton where she was the first woman to receive tenure in the Economics Department. And at least in my experience, economics is one of the very hardest tenure ceilings for women to crack. During her time at Princeton, she was, among many other activities, the founding director of the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging, and her scholarship has increasingly focused on the relationship of economic factors to health and welfare over the life course. Immediately, before coming to Brown, President Paxson served as dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs. At Brown, she has quickly moved to develop building on distinctions, the strategic plan that will guide the next phase of Brown's growth, and has become a leader much admired by students, faculty, and alums and I'm very happy to introduce her as the moderator of tonight's panel. Jean, thank you so much. I will do my introductions from the podium and then sit down for our conversation. The topic of the panel today is the changing role of women in academics, featuring three very strong and very wonderful women who have become university presidents. In fact, all of them can claim the role of the first woman to be president at their respective institutions. So let me just say a few words about each of them. Shirley Tilghman served as Princeton University's president from 2001 to 2013. At the time of her appointment as president, she had served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years. She is a world renowned scholar in the field of molecular biology. Among her many accomplishments as president, Shirley oversaw the creation of major academic programs in the arts, energy, the environment, and neuroscience. Drew Faust is the 28th president of Harvard, appointed in 2007. She is a professor of history, was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for 25 years, and then founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. As president, Drew continues to raise the university's international reach, and expand financial aid, in addition to collaborating on many of today's challenging issues facing administrators in higher education. Nan Keohane's career as a president spanned over two decades, first at Wellesley College from 1981 to 1993, and then at Duke University from 1993 to 2004. Nan is a political philosopher, and is currently researching the theory and practice of leadership in democratic societies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Of note, as a visiting professor at Princeton, Shirley appointed Nan to chair a committee on undergraduate women leadership. During her presidencies, Nan advanced the use of technology on campus, and worked to diversify the communities of students and faculty. I also want to note one brand new, well sort of brand new woman president who is in the audience, and that is Rosanne Somerson who's sitting right here in front. Rosanne has been interim president of RISD for a year, and just last week, we got the great news that she will continue as the permanent president, so congratulations, Rosanne. So the backdrop for this panel is what is referred to at Brown as the Lamphere decision. In the mid 1970s, Louise Lamphere brought a class action lawsuit against Brown University, which charged Brown with discrimination against women in tenure decisions. This lawsuit resulted, in 1977, in a consent decree that opened up the university to women faculty in much greater numbers. And Jean mentioned the exhibit. I hope all of you have the chance to go see the exhibit that opened today in Pembroke Hall, and lays out in a very forthright and honest manner, the genesis and consequences of the Lamphere case. And I want to thank all of the members of the exhibit committee for their thoughtful care in curating and bringing this exhibit to fruition. So let me just read their names so we can acknowledge them. Nancy L. Bac, Amy Goldstein, Jean Howard, Wendy Korwin, Karen Newman, Barbara Raab, Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Kay Warren, Elizabeth Weed, and Debbie Weinstein. So thanks to all very much. And thanks. I'm looking for her in the front rows. Is Louise here? There you are! There you are. I couldn't see you. I'm delighted to have Louise Lamphere here with us today. So let's start the conversation, and I just wanted to start by saying, for people in the audience, it might seem a little unusual for a university to be celebrating what was effectively, we didn't formally lose, but Brown did lose this lawsuit, and here we are celebrating it. But I think we've come to know that Louise Lamphere's victory was really a victory for Brown, it was a victory for women at Brown, and it was a victory for universities around the country. And it's recognized to this day as a very pivotal experience. So what I wanted to ask each of you is can you identify in the respective institutions that you've been part of over the course your careers really pivotal moments other than becoming presidents yourself-- although those can be moments too-- but that really changed the status of women, either as students or faculty. What's been really important? Should I start with Nan? Well, it's easy to say in the case of Wellesley, being founded as a women's college by our founder, Henry Fowle Durant, who said, "Women can do the work. I give them the chance." And having reaffirmed the decision to remain a women's college-- sounds like Gilbert and Sullivan-- in the face of being able to do other things, has been an important commitment for Wellesley, and one that we cherish. For Duke, I guess what I would name would be, again, the founding-- not the founding-- but the big gift for Trinity College of $100,000 in 1890, which was a lot of money, the first Duke family gift on condition that women be educated on the same terms as men. That was a big deal. But the last thing I want to mention was not of any institution I was president of, but one that involves Louise Lamphere in an indirect way. I was an assistant professor at Stanford in the 1970s working happily and dutifully on political philosophy, Greek 18th century, and got this invitation from Shelly Rosaldo, Diane Middlebrook, Jane Collier, young faculty members like myself, who said, let's get together and talk about what it would be like if our disciplines paid attention to women. Wow, what a revolutionary idea. This was second wave feminism as it took root at Stanford. And the way I think about it in retrospect is the familiar line, "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, and to be young was very heaven." So we faculty members sat around on somebody's carpet all night talking about how to change Stanford by founding a feminist studies program with a Ph.D. and an undergraduate major by setting up a center for research on women, and by editing Signs, the feminist journal, together as a collective. And although Louise was not on the Stanford faculty, she was very close to Shelly Rosaldo. Their book, Women, Culture, and Society, was our Bible, and so she was often there. And so I name this because I do think it did change Stanford. It was technically co-educational, but this made it much more clearly feminist, and Louise had a part in that. Thank you. Shirley. I don't think, Princeton didn't have a Louise Lamphere. We didn't. So when I was trying to think about what was the comparable event at Princeton that initiated the many changes that have happened in the last 40, 50 years, it was really co-education. And we shouldn't underestimate today, when co-education just seems so obvious to us, the impact on these all-male institutions. In the first two or three years when women first appeared on campus most of the institutions were not ready for women. Wasn't just the absence the bathrooms. It was really the absence of any idea of what it was going to suddenly be like to have women in classrooms, women asking, where's my sports team, women sort of asking to be taken seriously as scholars. So I think for Princeton, the arrival of that first generation of women in the 1970s who really were extraordinary. I mean, they were pioneers. I often refer to them as the kibbutzniks because they were the pioneers. And I think they came with a certain amount of pioneer spirit and intention to take the place by storm. And when I now look at what those women have done with their lives, many of them have taken the world by storm, and I don't think it's at all surprising. So I think for the Princeton, the arrival of women as students was really the transformational event. What about at Harvard? Or maybe you want to talk about Penn? I don't know. When you asked us to think about this, I couldn't come up with a single moment. There's not a Louise Lamphere to cite and I don't think a particular event, but something that came to my mind immediately was a report that was written in 1971, and issued to the faculty as a whole. It was written, the chairs of the report were Michael Walzer, now at the Institute for Advanced Study, and Caroline Bynum, recently at the Institute for Advanced Study. She was soon thereafter denied tenure at Harvard. But in this report, they bravely set forth the realities of numbers across the faculty, and how terrible they were, and what the expectations of an increasingly female student body included, and set a path that has been the North Star in a way for the inclusion of women more fully on the faculty and in the university as a whole. At the time they wrote that report, there were 731 faculty at Harvard, and 11 were women. That's every school. And in arts and sciences, there were only two women. So Jean, I thought about, you said you only had two women. Well, you would have had to really make a point of finding those two women had you been an undergraduate at Harvard at that time. So I think that was kind of the beginning of monitoring ourselves, and that was the beginning of recognizing the path towards change. It's interesting. And I'm going to go off questions that I know you knew I was going to ask, but one way I started to really get to know you, Shirley, was when you asked me to be the lone social scientist on a report that we did on the status of women in the natural sciences and engineering at Princeton. And that had followed on the heels of the MIT report, which I think was also a very important report. Absolutely. Yeah. And actually, there were, I think, two heroes of that story at MIT. One is Nancy Hopkins, who clearly raised the question of whether women faculty at MIT were having the same experience with respect to their own institution as their male colleagues. And then I think the other great hero was Chuck Vest, who was president of MIT, and instead of saying, be a good girl. Go away. He said, that's a question we should be answering. That's a question we should be looking at, and I think his willingness to open the door, and have that publicly examined, because it really became a very public report, was a remarkable thing. No, I think so too. So second topic, which is to get off, talk about, all of you are great scholars, amazing scholars, and you come from very different fields. We have American history, molecular biology, political theory, and philosophy. How has your experience, how does interdisciplinary background, how has it affected how you've approached the presidency. Has it helped you? Has it hurt you? What's the role? It's so nice to have you ask this question in a kind of neutral way, because when I first became president people would say, you're a historian. What use is that? How did that qualify you for this job. And I felt from the very outset that there could be no better background. Because as I look at a problem, I think, where did it come from? What are its origins? What can I learn about the problem by looking at its origins? And then I think, what is history about? It's about change. And leadership is about change. It's about helping people to accept change, helping people ready for change, understanding what makes them resist change, and that's what history is about, so I've always felt it was an enormously useful disciplinary framework from which to approach the problems of a presidency. And have people stopped asking you that question with skepticism? They've stopped. Good. Shirley. [INAUDIBLE] So I remember one of the very last questions I was asked by the search committee when they were making their final decision about who was going to be president, one of them who was a banker, I think, turned to me and said, you do know how to read a spreadsheet, don't you? I said, I'm scientist. I know how to read a spreadsheet. But as I think about what a background as a scientist brings, the thing that immediately comes to mind is that I love to solve problems. Because science is basically posing a question and then trying to figure out how to get the answer. And so I think my numerate skills, my analytical skills probably were important over the course of my presidency, but it was also a disadvantage in the beginning. Because when you're a scientist, you're rewarded for going deep, for being in control of every single fact and figure, everything that you can know about a specific subject. And that was the way I had conducted my entire professional life, so I would get together a group, they would come in and say, so here's what we know, and now, what's the decision? And I would say, just send me the Excel spreadsheets, and I'll spend some time, and I'll look at them, and I'll analyze them, and I'll figure it out. And they said, no, no, no. We've done all that. We just want the answer. And I realized that if I continued to function as I had as a scientist, which is going deep, I was going to really frustrate virtually everybody who worked with me. So it took some time to realize that I had to trust the fact finding and the figure analyzing that others were doing, and I had to learn how to take and trust and then make decisions. So it was both a plus and a minus for me. That's totally interesting. Nan? Well, as political philosopher, I wish I had been more used to reading spreadsheets. I guess political philosophers don't read spreadsheets, and I had to learn that. It would have been very helpful. But political theory, political philosophy, and even more broadly, political science have been very helpful to me as a leader. Partly because that's what political scientists study is the use of power, the ways in which conflicts of interest are or are not resolved, how you reach compromises, how you set goals. I mean, thinking about what leadership means at some level is part of what political scientists do, and so, for me, that's been a very helpful major. But I'll wind up my answer by answering the reverse the ways-- since I'm now on the other side of being an administrator-- the ways it's been helpful to me, as a political scientist, to be a university president. When I became a president, I was just freshly tenured at Stanford, and I'd had no experience of all this. A couple of my colleagues in political philosophy were really shocked. Why on Earth would you do this? One who was a Plato expert said, why would you go back down into the cave? And I thought, is that what it's going to be like? It was, unfortunately. But a more perceptive political theory colleague said, what do you hope to learn? And that was the right question. Because I have learned a lot as a political scientist from the experience of being a president. I was very curious about it. That's one reason I took the job. We study power, so what does it feel like to actually have some power? And I found that on the other side as I've been working for the last 10 years at Princeton and now at the Institute and teaching, I am a better political scientist for having done it, and I also think I was a better president in many ways for being a political scientist, although it would have helped to read a spreadsheet when I came in. So Nan, I just want to follow up. After you left Duke, you wrote a wonderful book called Thinking About Leadership, and it's one, I told you today, I keep it on my, it's in my Kindle, it's on my iPad, I read it periodically. I love it. There is an entire chapter in that book on the question that I think all of us have probably been asked many times. And it's interesting, you talked about sort of power, and the question is do women lead differently than men? Are their differences? And we may have very different opinions about this. I know your opinion, because I've read your book. Maybe you could start with that, and then we could work back down the other way. Well, I'll start by also saying it's so familiar to have Chris Paxson asking me questions because she was my dean at the Woodrow Wilson Center. It feels real natural. So in thinking about leadership, which is an example, by the way, of what I learned was sort of this was part of the fruition of knowing more about leadership and power. But there is a chapter, as Chris mentioned, do women lead differently from men? And I think that's a complicated question. I don't think it's obviously yes, or obviously no, because leadership is a very individual activity. And to say that all women lead the same is obviously untrue. Margaret Thatcher, and Mother Theresa, Indira Gandhi. Who else would you name? I do think that socialization to care, to nurture, to look around for others, and the experiences that often we have as girls and women where we are required, if we're going to survive, to have a peripheral vision that guys may not always need in quite the same way means that it is likely, probably, that many of us do lead at least a little bit differently. But I know something about how all the folks up here on the stage lead, and I certainly don't think anybody would say we lead in a fundamentally feminine fashion that makes us different from our male peers. But maybe we're not the best ones to judge, and maybe my colleagues will disagree. But the second part of the question I know Chris has in mind is do women face different challenges as leaders? And now, we're not talking about presidents only. I think women do face special challenges as leaders, and that's a subject of a lot of debate, of course, today that I'm not going to get into now. But whether we need to lean in, as Sheryl Sandberg would say, or work on the structures, as Anne-Marie Slaughter would say, there clearly are challenges that we face in making our way through this labyrinth, and we can come back and talk about that if you wish. I like the addition to the question, so why don't we stipulate that it's added and see. So I am so glad that Nan answered the question first, because I have struggled with that question over many years, well before I became president. And on any given day, I couldn't come up with multiple different answers to the question. There's a part of me that doesn't want to admit that women lead any differently than men. And this partly comes out of the question that I used to be asked which is do women do science differently than men? And my answer then was always absolutely not. Science is science. But the longer I was in a position where I was leading an institution, the more I actually had to concede that I think there are these subtle differences, and they're not stereotypes. And I hate stereotypes, so I really don't want to suggest that. But I think on average that women are more likely to lead by consensus building rather than command and control. I think it's culture. It's the way we were raised in part. So I think there probably are differences, and those differences matter. I would agree with my colleagues. That's the easy way out. But I'll say a little more. And I would emphasize the socialization point. Girls are raised differently in our society from boys, and we are the product of that. And one of the aspects of it that I'd just like to add to what you two said is the listening aspect, which I think is such an important key part of leadership, because you need to understand where the people you're trying to lead are before you can get them to go somewhere else and to follow you. And the best tool for that is to listen. And I think women-- in American society, at least, Western society, I would say more generally, I don't know how broadly to generalize it-- but women are socialized to listen more I think than men are, and I think that is an invaluable trait for leadership, and one that then results in consensus building and some of the things you described. But I think is another element. I agree with both of you, and that's expanding on what I was groping for there. Although I recall very vividly, because I was in the room when you were announced as the president of Harvard, you said, I'm not the woman president of Harvard. I am president of Harvard. So it was very important that they wouldn't just put you in some box. I felt, I got this question about what does it feel like to be the woman president of Harvard, and I thought, am I always going to be seen with an asterisk, sort of like this season was long enough that the home runs don't count. Well, let me ask you one more question that I know people in the audience would love to chime in. So it's been nearly 40 years since the Louise Lamphere case was settled, and yet we've named this panel "Cracking the Glass Ceiling," not "Breaking the Glass Ceiling," and that choice was actually purposeful. If you look across academics, you see that women continue to be under-represented in a number of areas, not all, but many, sciences, among provosts, among presidents, in some areas of students. So for each of you, what are the next steps? What do we need to be worrying about? What actions or Shirley, you love to solve problems, so what are the problems that we need to solve? I think it's childcare. And I don't simply mean having concrete solutions. Those are incredibly important. But I think it is recognizing that our society was structured at a time when the family expectations for mothers and fathers were completely different, and we have not yet figured out a way how to get through those old expectations, and those old cultural practices to make it possible for women to think about both work and family as complementary and mutually beneficial activities that are completely natural. Likewise, that men can be able to think about them in exactly the same way. And until we figure this out, I think we are always going to be running uphill. That's really interesting, Good. So I would emphasize also structures to go back in the various structures. But I do think there are still assumptions-- and this relates to your last question too-- about women. I notice that when I read tenure dossiers, people talk about women with different language from the way they talk about men. I think that has an influence on the kinds of projects women may undertake because they fear being seen as claiming too much. The man is brilliant. It's the same kind of program or project. And we can also see, and there have been studies-- and maybe even some of you in this room have done these studies-- where you send out a CV, and you put a man's name on it, you put a woman's name on it, and you get a completely different reaction. So there's still work to be done in what expectations and attitudes are about women. And I think we need to work on those as well. Do you know what we can do? That's a harder, I don't have an answer to that, so I'm just. It's hard. Well, I think the work that points that out, I think, is-- Is important. --challenging search committees, challenging letters, and pointing out the way they're framed is-- Just making is visible. --making it visible is at least a beginning. I was able to see the exhibit that Jean mentioned this afternoon and it's really impressive. And I was just glancing around the wall at a time when Louise had to challenge Brown. The language from the searches then, we're looking for the best man. Find a man. And that's still, at some level, embedded in too many people's thinking. There still are prejudices about who is the most appropriate candidate for a job. I do feel, however, that those are, in many places, melting away, and the work of people like Louise in challenging, knocking them down has laid the groundwork for that. I'm not naive enough to think they've all gone away, but in my opinion, the problem is more the wrestling with the career and family juggling. I mean, Shirley nailed it at the beginning. I served on a committee that Donna Shalala chaired, of the National Academy of Sciences, that came up with a report on women in science and engineering called "Beyond Bias and Barriers," and it was maybe seven years ago. And in that report, we were able to show that in most fields, not all, but in most fields, women have gained parity with men, sometimes even more women, not just in science and engineering, but other professions right up through the terminal degree-- the Ph.D., the postdoc, the MBA, whatever it may be-- not the MBA-- JD, MD. But that there is this drop-off. It's not a leaky pipeline. It's like a cliff, and the cliff is when you take that first job, and you set yourself off on the tenure track, or you've set yourself up to earn partner in a law firm. And to do that, you're making a commitment which involves sometimes often almost an impossible challenge if you were also a mother, and clearly the biological clock and the tenure clock tick the same way as so many people have said, or the partner clock. And finding ways-- it's partly childcare, I think that is fundamental-- but it's also family friendly workplaces and work time and clocks. And I think that is now a bigger obstacle than the remaining prejudices. That has to be a change by institutions in what they provide, and in what they take as fundamental to their cause, but it also has to be public policy, because a lot of these things are built into rules or not. And I think that we need to look on both fronts for that. Well, thank you. What I'd like to do is open the floor to questions. We have microphones on both sides, so if people want to come and line up, we can go back and forth. Don't be shy. Hello. I'm here voicing concerns raised by a group of students regarding the administrative response to an incident of sexual violence at Brown. We are concerned with the way that money, power, and privilege seem to influence the adjudication and suctioning processes when those accused are connected to large donors. It appears as though the university is more concerned with its image and keeping its donors happy than with protecting its students. As university presidents, you clearly have to balance a lot of different interests. How do you think about balancing a university's fiscal interest with the safety and well-being of the student body. Well, this is a question from one of my students, so I think I'll answer first. I've said this many times, the safety and welfare of our students comes before anything else. And I know that the case that's been talked about recently is very, very difficult and it's complex and not everybody agrees with the decisions that were made. But I can assure you that we are thinking first about our students. But thank you for the question. Anybody else? Well, I don't-- and the way you asked the question-- as president, now granted I've been out of office for more than 10 years, but I don't ever remember doing the specific trade-off you just mentioned of the health and safety of our students against fiscal responsibilities and donors and whatever. I know that we use trade-offs often in which the importance of fiscal pressures matters, and donors are very important to the university. But that particular trade-off, I doubt very much that that's going on here, and I don't believe that it goes on for most of us. I agree with that. I would agree also. Thank you. Are there other questions? I had a question for Louise Lamphere. Maybe you could address- You didn't know you were going to be on the panel, Louise. I just wondered because I saw the exhibit as well and listening to everybody talk, and I wonder if there was a personal cost that you bore when you brought the suit, and what you were feeling personally whether it was the challenge of a lifetime, did you recognize at the time that it would have such far reaching consequence? But if you could just address that on a personal level, what it meant to you? Did it free you to become the person you wanted to be or was it this just big burden that you wish you'd never started the whole thing? Face everybody here. In terms of personal cost, I guess one of the things I think is true of women of my generation, but also maybe women of the younger generation now is that women often feel-- partly because there's socialization-- that they're not pretty enough, they're too smart, there's something wrong with them. And that was a real challenge for me to believe that I really had something to say. I could challenge the system, rather than thinking it was really my fault. And I think that's something that women in America still struggle with, young women and older women. And so if anything was personally challenging, it was that kind of thing, to overcome that. And to be able to overcome that, I really needed a support group, and my support group came from people I lived with collectively in a house, my partner, Peter Evans is here, but I think even today, women need a support group, people who will say, look, you've got it. You're really OK. It's not your fault. So that's really, I think, one thing. I just also want to address this issue of work/family balance, because I've done a lot of research in this area. I think that the main thing that has to happen are the structural changes that Nan just talked about that careers, in particular, have become lengthy 80-hour work jobs, and it's very difficult for a family to raise kids-- both a husband and the wife-- if two of them are working an 80 hour week job. So we need to change the structure of work, particularly professional work. If we really had 40 hour work weeks, maybe we could manage this, but we don't. We don't have the kind of health care, childcare facilities, we don't pay our childcare workers enough, and the structure of jobs, and being able to rise in jobs is such that it's very difficult to raise a family, even if both the husband and the wife, or the two partners, want to share the childcare responsibilities. And so it's these structural changes as well as the attitudinal changes that people have mentioned. Thank you. So Betsy West. Hi. I just want to say that the kind of courage that Louise Lamphere showed to take on the university is extraordinary. And I know that in my career I've benefited as a journalist-- I'm a journalist-- I benefited from the women who had the nerve to sue Newsweek, because every single person on the masthead from here down to here was a man, and everybody down here was a woman. You couldn't really advance from being a researcher to being actually a reporter at Newsweek until a bunch of women got up the courage to sue Newsweek. As a result, all the media organizations suddenly felt like, hey, maybe we'd better take women or else we will be sued. And so I think it obviously must have had a huge impact. I was going to ask a question about how the men react to all of this, but I'm thinking about the childcare thing now, and wondering if you have any insights. In 1972, a bill passed-- I think it was '72-- passed Congress for childcare in this country. It was at the height of the women's movement. Both houses of Congress passed this thing, and Nixon vetoed it. He vetoed it really for political reasons. He was going to be going to China, and he knew he needed to throw a bone to the right wing, so he vetoed this, because it was seen as a kind of anti-family bill. I just wonder now in our very partisan era, how do women really take this issue on of child care? What do we do about it? We've been talking about this for 40 years. What do we do? Shirley. If there was one thing that I would try and do it would be to work on paid maternity leave. It is scandalous, scandalous that we do not have paid maternity leave in this country. It says-- --and paternity. We do not-- and paternity. We do not care about our children. That's what that says. So for me that's the bedrock on which to build everything else, which is to recognize that in those first early months having parents with their newborn is really critical to the welfare of that child. But I would also add, I'm glad you began your question. Where is the person who asked it? Betsy's right there. It's hard to see. I'm glad you began your question by saying you've been thinking about so what about the guys? What about the men? I think it is very important and I'm delighted to see that there are quite a few men in this gathering, because this is clearly not just a woman's problem, either the role of women in the university or the role of taking care of children. So to me, it's got to be something that people think about together, because guys also pay a price when they're willing to stay home and take care of their kids and take some time off, everybody assumes they don't care. They'll never be CEO. They're not serious about their work. And so there's got to be a way in which we recognize that families and children are crucial to our country, to our economy, to the future of human happiness, indeed the world, and make provisions for them. I mean, I'm glad you mentioned the act that Nixon vetoed. It's just almost unthinkable. It would have made such a huge difference. And you're right, it's very hard to see how we're going to get there. But in the absence of having a government that can do it in Washington, because of the partisan struggles, some of the states, some corporations, some cities, let's take advantage of federalism, and show we can do it at other levels too. Over here. Thank you. Hi. I'm in the Medical School faculty and as a Wellesley graduate I'm a strong fan of single-sex education for women, because I think it made a huge difference for me, and showing me that my voice would be heard. Now, of course, medicine is co-ed, and yet I notice as a faculty member frequently some of the female students are perhaps more reticent about speaking up, about making their opinions known, disagreeing with their supervisors when it's appropriate for them to be disagreeing. So I guess my question really is it seems to me that co-education has helped the men more than the women in some ways, and I'd be particularly interested in President Keohane's comparison between her observations of going from a single-sex environment to a co-ed environment. Well, I'm, not surprisingly, a big advocate of single-sex education at some level in one's experience. Several of my granddaughters are having that experience in high school or elementary school, and certainly I believe that a women's college is a great opportunity for many women. But I'm going to speak also in favor of co-education when it works, and I'm going to give Princeton here as an example. I think it was Chris who mentioned that I was asked-- or was it Jean-- to chair a committee by Shirley Tilghman, which took some courage on her part, to look at undergraduate women's leadership at Princeton. Because there was evidence that women were having far less opportunity or taking less advantage of major leadership roles at the undergraduate level, were having problems perhaps being heard so much in class that they would gain honors, prizes, fellowships, and we were willing to say it was a problem, and take it on, and Shirley asked us to do it. And in our report, we talked about the importance of women as leaders in these very visible posts, head of student government, editor of The Princetonian, whatever. But we also learned from the students we talked to that all kinds of leadership were important and we shouldn't just look at the big visible posts. Women behind the scenes who were making a difference, women doing most of the work, the guys told us. But also, women heading smaller organizations about causes that they cared about-- the environment, the arts, whatever, tutoring in Princeton. So we saw leadership as a multifaceted issue. But the reason I wanted to raise it today is because people groused and groaned about, well, why did we do this? Did we really need it? But it made a difference in the long run surely. This year, for the first time since the kibbutzniks, since the pioneers came, both the President and the Vice President of student government are women, and there had been only two in the whole decade since 2001. And the editor of The Princetonian is a woman, four heads of the eating clubs are women, and other offices are being held. And we hope this is not a blip. We hope it's a sign that co-education with opportunities for women that they will take advantage of, when it works, is also a very, very good form of education. I'd say a word in response also. I attended a women's college. I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in the late 1960s, and a dimension of that that I thought was enormously important is I saw a whole lot more than two women faculty members. And so I sometimes wonder if I got the notion at some point in my head that maybe I could be that, because I saw that. And it didn't seem to me at all impossible. Had I been at Harvard at that time, I would have had two women faculty members available in the whole Arts and Sciences. I would not have been allowed in the undergraduate library. Was not open to women until what would have been my junior year in college. And so it was just enormously important. But I think if we fast forward to today, we need to be realistic about what is possible in the realm of women's education. I'm delighted that Wellesley thrives, Bryn Mawr thrives. I'm saddened that Sweet Briar-- I come from Virginia-- Sweet Briar is closing this summer. And I think that gives us a lot to think about. 5% of high school graduates express any interest whatsoever in single-sex women's education. And so it behooves us to ask, what is it? What was the secret sauce that we saw, and that we still see in single-sex education, and how do we bring that secret sauce to Princeton, to Harvard, to Brown, so that the 95% of students who aren't going to even think about a women's college can have that experience as well. And certainly one part of it is having a lot of women on the faculty, so that those role models are there. But I think we should try to identify the others, because we're not going to solve the problem by having everybody suddenly decide they're going to single-sex schools. Thank you. [? Marguerite. ?] Hi. Thank you all for coming, and thank you for your role in cracking the glass ceiling. So I was particularly interested in your discussion of being a woman leader. You mentioned listening as an important skill that sort of stands out. But I guess one thing that I was thinking about is this often quoted tension between being aggressive and assertive. And I'm sure in your rise, it wasn't smooth sailing, so I'd love to hear any experiences you have with navigating the tension between being assertive and aggressive, because at the end of the day, while you may be able to listen as much as you can, a decision needs to be. And how do you do that without being perceived as an angry woman or another negative word? Thank you. Who would like to take that on? I think that's such a great question, and it goes back to something you asked us earlier, Chris, which is how do people perceive your leadership? Women are read as much more aggressive, exact same behavior, woman will be seen as aggressive. A man, no one will say a thing. So I just think you have to be aware of that, and I like your dichotomy there. Assertive, aggressive. You just have to be firm, you have to be clear, you have to not be angry, and if someone says, she was angry, you just live with that, and tell them to get over it. I think there, linking these two questions, it was enormously important for me to go to a women's college, because I never thought about the problem with being assertive or aggressive. We all were. That was the way we were as Wellesley women. But even more relevant since I was president of Wellesley first, and learned to be a president there, and when I got to be president of Duke, a lot of people I discovered later thought, how can this woman from Wellesley ever run Duke? They didn't tell me at the time southern politeness prevented it. But I found out later some of the guys who became my best supporters, donors, board members had wondered at the start. And I had realized I had to combine some degree of my southern past-- I mean, Drew has a southern past too-- in which you are gracious, and thoughtful, with being appropriately assertive, as I'd learned how to be at Wellesley. But I didn't doubt that I could do the job in my own style, because I'd learned how to do it in a woman's environment, and that was tremendously empowering. This book that I mentioned obliquely a moment ago-- Alice Eagly and Carli's book called, Through the Labyrinth-- I think although the glass ceiling is something that immediately gives us an image of what's going on, I like the image of a labyrinth even more, that everybody who wants to be a leader faces cul-de-sacs and dead-ends to try to get to the central prize. But women have more cul-de-sacs and more dead-ends than men do for a variety of reasons. And I think one of the big ones is the one you've just named, that women have to be as Eagly and Carli say, both agentic, meaning active, assertive, and nurturing. Guys are not expected to be both. Women are and in order to succeed as a leader, you've got to be able somehow to combine them. Whether it's fair or not, I think it's true. Yeah. The way I would have answered the question is very similar actually to my two friends, which is that I think early on I realized that women are allowed a narrower personality range than men. It's just fact, and you can rail against it, but you would be wise to try and walk between the boundaries which are narrower. But I also always kept in my mind in making a negative decision, which are the hard ones-- and the ones where you're being accused of being aggressive or too assertive-- the advice of a sociology professor at Princeton who gave me this advice well before I ever imagined that I would end up in Nassau Hall, which is you want to be the kind of leader who when you say no, people leave your office smiling. And the only way I ever learned to get that outcome was to explain why you're making the decision you're making, and to do it in the most respectful way. Because I think a no is very hard to absorb when you feel that it's coming out of some kind of lack of respect for your position, or lack of respect for who you are as an individual. And again, this was a male sociologist who gave me this advice, but I think it was a really good piece of advice about how to actually think about navigating that narrow personality range in tough situations. Right. Yeah. One thing I've noticed in this role is when you come into a presidency, you learn very quickly that everything you say and every way you communicate is observed and noted. So maintaining that range is actually quite important. That's a good point. Question over here. I'm also thrilled to have you all here. I wanted to ask you about your personal secret sauce. We talked about socialization, but something in each of your history left you totally secure in your own ability to lead. And when you were asked to step up, you didn't hesitate, I'm guessing. Doesn't look like it. Because I think so much we would like women to get that somewhere, that feeling that they can, when they're called upon to lead, they can actually lead. I'll tell you a story about a meeting I went to maybe 25 years ago at Mills College actually of very successful women in science. There were maybe 40, 50 of us, and we were asked to fill out a survey ahead of time. Some of the questions were quite personal about your background, and so on. And I think the goal of the organizers of the meeting was to try and look for the secret sauce among all these women who had succeeded in a field where women were not expected to succeed. The only thing that came through that survey was supportive parents. And I can tell you that's my secret sauce. I haven't the slightest doubt that it was having two parents-- mother and a father-- who said to me from the day I had cognitive ability, you can do anything you want, don't let anybody tell you different. And for me, that was everything. So my mother said to me when I was an aggressive little girl, it's a man's world, sweetie, and the sooner you learn that, the better of you'll be. Oh no! Maybe that's why I'm not a scientist. I'm afraid I have the same problem with the secret sauce in a different way. Oh no, my theory is going down the tubes. Because my mother was quite supportive, although I think she would never have necessarily expected I be a college president. She was very supportive of whatever I wanted to do. My father, who was very close to me and from whom I learned an enormous amount-- philosophy, history, music-- really didn't believe that women could lead, and he was quite amazed when I became president of Wellesley. It was almost like it was partly to show him that I could do it. That was not my big motive, but at some level, it was there. But bless his heart, he came to my inauguration. He was a minister. He gave the most beautiful invocation. So he came to terms with it, but it wasn't the secret sauce. Really? I think fighting with my mother might have been. And I had all these brothers who got all these privileges, and I was a girl, and I was supposed to do other things. And it just made me mad. You couldn't go to Princeton. I couldn't go to Princeton. Did you have all brothers? Her brothers went to Princeton. Well, I had a mother who was not very supportive, but a father who was the guy who would teach me how to use a slide rule-- we had those back then-- and was very happy to teach me "boy" things, how to use tools in the woodshop, and I think that was important for me. So I'm with Shirley. I think parents matter. At least for some people. Well, mine might have mattered as the opposite. In the opposite way. You just fought. I remember when President Gregorian came to speak to our local Brown Club, and he was asked when would they start admitting, let's say, gender-blind admissions, and he said, well, that wouldn't be possible, because the science departments wouldn't get enough people in them. It would be imbalanced towards the humanities. I wonder how that problem was solved. Time. Thank you. Question. As a non-binary identified student, I'd like to problematize the gender binary in this discussion, and I feel like I and other trans students often feel like we're falling through the cracks. Dr, Tilghman mentioned before that when schools started going co-ed the problem wasn't just there weren't proper bathrooms, there were all these other issues too. And I feel like that's still, in many ways, the situation for cis-gendered women in college universities, but it's also the situation for queer students, especially trans students. And so even in the very architecture of most of the buildings on this campus, there's a fundamental assumption that's being made about what my gender is, how that relates to the sex I was assigned at my birth, and what that means about how I use the bathroom. And so I'd like to ask where we fall into your thoughts on this matter and this conversation? You know, I can answer that, and I think it's a great question. Honestly, when I was in college, we were just starting to talk about people who were gay. That was about where we were, and that's still a very binary concept. And then I saw-- it's funny, I went to Swarthmore, and then my son went through Swarthmore-- and through him and his partner, I've learned just a tremendous amount about the issues that you're talking about. So I do think that this is the next wave, and it's a welcome wave. So it takes a while for people of the next generation up to figure out the language that you're using and why it's important. You get a lot of questions, I'm sure. But I think with enough conversation, you can make progress. It sinks in. So I'm glad you asked the question. Which side was I on? OK. Over here. Sorry. Hi. Thank you so much for being here. My question is about ambition, and I was wondering if what your experience was, I see that a lot of women who are talented, when they get into a situation maybe in the middle or the early part of their careers where they're faced with an opportunity, but along with that opportunity comes a lot of-- polite way to say this-- a lot of junk, a lot of work that doesn't have value, a lot of problems that are just problems, and they're not an opportunity. And they have to stick with it if they want to get up to say where you are, or to the next level. And I was wondering if you ever had that situation where you had to, you just didn't want to do that work, it wasn't valuable, what you were doing at the lower level was more valuable, but you had to pass through a middle layer that was more administrative and more I'd say less valuable, and how did you deal with that? I'm going to let my colleagues answer that as you asked, since I never passed through a middle layer. I went right from being a newly tenured associate professor to being president, which had its strengths and its drawbacks. But I wanted to answer your question in a slightly different way, and to use it as a spring back to the question about why there were not women scientists and now there are. Time is part of the answer, but it's also encouragement, education from the beginning. I think about my granddaughters who are really interested in science, who are being encouraged and supported in their schools, and women are supposed to do this instead of women can't be physicists, or economists, or whatever it is. And so it's time, but it's also deliberate education and focus. And I think the same thing is true with ambition. I think girls, generally, are still not expected to be ambitious, or trained to be ambitious, whereas, most guys are. And like science, to know that you can do it, and that it's all right, and that there will be some scut work that comes with the exciting stuff, even in the quote "top jobs." Because you don't all leave it all behind you when you get to the president's desk. But for girls to be trained to think of ambition as a feminine activity like science now for many girls I think is an important step. I've often thought about how ambition figured in my life because of my generation, and I wonder if this is generalizable to the two of you as well, which is for any one of us to have had an ambition to be president of a major university would have been kind of unimaginable when we were little children. And so I don't think that we probably had our careers guided by a sense of where we wanted to arrive, and one of the wonderful things about everything that's changed is that little girls can imagine themselves in all kinds of roles now. But that also means that there's something to lose in a sense, and I think for us, coming along when we did, for each of us, it opened up that it was there could be a woman president of Duke when you became, and when you became, and so forth. And so now maybe there's some young woman somewhere who thinks, I want to be president of Harvard, and will try to organize her life around that, and will or won't become president of Harvard or Duke or Princeton. And so it's different, ambition figures differently now I think because people can have more sense of possibility. Hooray. But also then have to drive themselves in a narrow way. It was just an enormous and wonderful surprise and unimaginable that I ever became president of Harvard. And so it wasn't something that I had to risk, in a sense. Does that make sense in terms of your life? Absolutely. Absolutely. So sadly, I think we only have time for maybe two more questions, so what I was going to ask was the two people at the microphones on each side, why don't you both ask your questions, and then we can have one more round of discussion, but we'll get both questions at once. So there's a theme here of women in science, and I'm a scientist who's on the faculty of a medical school, and when I joined my first promotions committee to promote someone from assistant professor to associate professors, they had some training come in to tell us the rules, and afterward someone said, one of the problems that we have to overcome is that women are promoted for what they've done, and men are promoted for their potential. And so I wanted to know-- not at my medical school, but that's a problem that comes in that people tend to just gravitate towards-- and I was wondering if you think that remains a problem. Good. And one more. Justice. Thank you for that question. So my concern is we've heard a lot about childcare, and I think that's extremely important, but women of color have been taking care of their own children and white women's children for centuries, and then there's also trans women who often don't even get in the workplace, because they're barred from entry. And so I'm wondering if you can speak to concerns about women who don't necessarily fall into this situation-- queer women, trans women, women of color, combinations of those different identities-- and if you can really talk to what are their glass ceilings, and how can we help them as well. Thank you. So two very different questions. Who wants to start with what? I guess I'm a little mystified by the dichotomy the question over here posed about women at a time of promotion being judged by what they've done whereas men being judged by what they are or have the potential to do in the future. That's just not been my experience. And I chaired every tenure and promotion and appointment case at Princeton for 12 years, and I-- maybe I haven't thought about it deeply enough-- but I didn't see that particular phenomenon playing out in the cases that I oversaw. I wanted to respond to the other question by recognizing that you've reminded us, we use the term "women" as though everybody was all the same, and we know that's not true, that women have many different ways of navigating in the world, and you've mentioned several. So the way we've been generalizing about women, feminists have learned, I think if we stop to reflect on it, that that's just not a wise thing to do in many instances. In other instances, there are ways in which women, however different they may be in some respects, do share some kinds of either they're treated similarly or they have some similar ways of looking at the world, but you're right to remind us that women are a diverse category, and we shouldn't generalize too much as probably we have been doing tonight. And in particular, if you think about the issue of child care, this is a problem for women who are aspiring to be professors in universities, can you only imagine the challenge for someone who is in a low-income job trying to raise a child or children on the kind of low-income wages that are still a part of our economy? It's very important to remember that. It's an extraordinary challenge. Your question made me think about looking at the issue from the point of view of who is going to care for children, and how are children going to be cared for, and you made a remark about do we as a society care about our children? We need to have a society in which people of every variety can work and find, we hope, fulfillment in that work, and remuneration in that work, and that's a challenge as you point out, they're people for whom work is either unavailable or exploitative and awful, so we need to think about that. But how do we make that work together with the commitment of individuals to have families and to raise children and the need in societies to support those children robustly? So the complexities of that were very much outlined in your question. And care more generally, care for your partners, care for your aged parents, care for your friends. And I think that's important. Really, the rubber hits the road with childcare for a variety of reasons, but having a society that values caregiving more fundamentally. And just to go back to what Louise said about the 80 hour work week, I think in many professions it's expected that you should always be available to work at any time of the day or night, and if you put limits on that, you're going to put limits on your opportunities. And then the other end of the economic spectrum, you work 80 hours because you've got to work six different jobs in order to make ends meet. So how do we think about work in this society so that we don't have everybody with 80 hour week expectations or necessities so that there is time for the children who are the next generation and the future. Amen. Very good way to end. I want to thank all of you for coming. Thank you, Chris. I really appreciate it.

Early life and career

Durant was born in Hanover, New Hampshire[1] as Henry Wells Smith. He changed his name to Henry Fowle Durant to avoid confusion with a local businessman.

Durant completed his studies in Harvard Law School at Harvard University in 1841. He subsequently practiced in Boston.

Durant married his cousin, Pauline Adeline Durant (née Fowle), in 1855. The couple went on to have two children, Henry “Harry” Fowle Durant and Pauline Cazenove Durant. Both children died in early childhood.[2]

After the death of his son, Harry, Durant underwent a religious conversion and became a lay preacher in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, practicing from 1864 to 1875.

In 1870, Durant and Pauline contributed between one and two million dollars to found Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Durant, a staunch believer in female education, famously said, “Women can do the work. I give them the chance.”[3]

He died from Bright's Disease at the age of 59.[4]


  1. ^ "HANOVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY". Town of Hanover New Hampshire. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  2. ^ Crawford, Mary Caroline (1930). Famous Families of Massachusetts. Little, Brown & Company.
  3. ^ "A Brief History of Wellesley College". Wellesley College. 2007. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  4. ^ Kingsley, Florence Morse (2004). The Life of Henry Fowle Durant Founder of Wellesley College. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0766199533.

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