Friday, May 28, 2010

Reunions Coverage: Forty years of undergraduate women at Princeton

Forty years after female undergraduates were first allowed to call themselves Princeton Tigers, a collection of alumni, faculty and current students gathered for the lecture and discussion, "Forty Years of Undergraduate Women at Princeton: Women and Gender Studies in the Classroom and Feminist Activism on Campus." The lecture was given by Jill Dolan, an English and theater professor and director of the Program in the Study of Women and Gender. Sally Frank '80, a renowned feminist activist that brought suit against several eating clubs during her time as an undergraduate to contest their refusal to extend membership to women, joined in the audience and commented on the importance of a quality undergraduate experience both in and out of the classroom.

It is evident that the Princeton community has come a long way from the days when the presence of women was both feared and abhorred by their male counterparts and alumni. Audience members and Dolan both praised the University for its progress under the direction of President Shirley Tilghman. However, issues ranging from the lack of female presence in the most visible leadership positions to the acceptance of demeaning party themes such as Colonial's "CEOs and Office Hos" as harmless jokes have encouraged the administration to organize the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women's Leadership at Princeton, which is expected to release its report by February 2011. The committee is starting a website over the summer that will accept contributions and conversation from all who are interested.

by Carolyn Tackett

graphic by Kaetlyn Wilcox