Personal Reflections on Building a Women's Center in a Women's College, 1975, page 2
"juggle . . .to handle or deal with usually ocvcnl things (no ob- ligations) at one time no u to satisfy often conpeting require- ments. i.c.. the responsibilities of family life and full-ti-e job-Jane S. GonId"—Webuer'a New Collegiate Dictionary. Ninth Edition. tics from the U.S. Women's Bureau. Projections indicated that. for the foreseeable future. educated women would marry young; drop out of school or the labor force on the birth of their first child; and return to school or a job on a part-time basis when their last child started nursery school. This view was also reflected in the proliferation of innova- tive continuing education programs for women all over the country between 1960 and 1970. Most of these programs were part time. l was closely associated with the pioneer Seven College Vocational Workshops held at Barnard Col- lege from 1962-66. followed by the Barnard College Com- munity Service Workshops from 1966-68. lnterestingly _enough. these programs were open only to married women: they actually turned away women who had never been married. In 1965. I became the director of Placement and Career Planning at Barnard. lt was a full~time job and although l hesitated briefly before taking on this responsibility. with two children still in school. l welcomed this new assignment. Hav- ing spent eleven years helping women who had been full- time homemakers find their way back to jobs which were usually beneath their capabilities, or to graduate or profes- sional programs which often represented a compromise in career goals. I was convinced that the key to successful em- ployment lay in developing appropriate career goals at the earliest possible time. l knew, of course, that college-trained women still faced external limits: discrimination regarding kinds of jobs offered. wages, opportunities for advancement, and admission to graduate and professional programs and into the professions themselves. But I was encouraged by the change in climate. l noted, for example, the 1963 Report of the Presidents Commission on the Status of Women, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with its inclusion of Title Vll, prohibiting discrimination based on sex. I assumed that Barnard women, given the College's high academic standards and long. honored tradition of educating womvii would eagerly take advantage of these broadening horizum and develop appropriate career plans. Unfortunately, this was not the case. l was disappointed in the internal limits many Barnard women, both students and recent alumnae, set for themselves. l was astonished to find that most of these highly intelligent, often talented young women were reluctant to think of themselves as indepen- dent. professional working people ready to make long~range plans. I was distressed at how fearful many were of consider- ing careers in the traditionally male fields of business, en- gineering, architecture, medicine, and law. I felt powerless as I saw seniors give up their own career plans for expedient jobs to support young husbands going to graduate school Even worse, there seemed to be nothing l could do to counter what I heard all too often: that a student was just looking for a job for a year or so; it didn't matter too much what the job was because she hoped to be getting married soon after that. As late as the fall of 1969, in a study of aspi- rations and sex-role expectations of the graduating class of 1970, I found that although most realized, in a general way. that work would be an important part of their lives, few had made definite career commitments. Many were ambivalent about their role as women and were unready to step outside what they considered to be the appropriate role of women. Although I was deeply involved in changing the situation of women in professional employment and was committed to change for all working women, l was not part of the women's movement in those early years. l questioned some of the issues and strategies of groups like NOW, WITCH. and Red Stockings. Such organizations seemed to me to to- cus on tactics like picketing to protest the segregated “Help Wanted" ads in the New York Times. the “men only" policy of the Oak Room of the Plaza, and the Miss America con- test in Atlantic City. l still believed that education and legis- lation were the only correct paths for change and l was troubled by these tactics. l began to see the tension between ideas and legislation. on the one hand. and between legislation and concrete changes, on the other. The statistical projections we had ac- cepted just a few years earlier as a basis for counseling were becoming obsolete by 1970: We saw many young women marrying later or not at all; divorcing, often with young chil- dren; and opting for full-time work and demanding full-time graduate and professional programs. As their lives changed. the stream of legislation, guidelines, Executive Orders. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions between 1965 and 1969, and much lip service to ending discrimination based on sex at high levels of business. education, and govern- ment, seemed to be both responsive to and supportive of their aspirations. In fact, I saw little change for women in em- ployment: They were still being offered the same low-level jobs. They were still asked whether they could type, even as they graduated from the Harvard Business School (to which they had so recently been admitted) and asked, upon appli- cation to medical school. how they planned to take care of their children. even though they were neither married nor engaged. They were still told they could not be promoted be- cause there were never any women in higher—level jobs; they were still paid less and told that they didn't need the money. as men did. Their inroads into the higher-paid jobs in management and the professions continued to be small. In Women's Studies Quarterly Xll 1 (Spring 1054'