Proposal to ACE, Roster of Women Scholars, 1971, page 2
Proposal to ACE re: Roster of Women Scholars Higher education in America has long supported research on many fronts. However, data have always been scanty in one area: women in the academic world. That lack of data has reflected a general in- difference to the well-being of women in the academic world. As representatives of the Seven College Conference (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley), all with both a historical and contemporary concern for the education of women, we now urge the American Council on Education to sponsor a roster of women scholars. Representatives of the women's groups of the major professional associations support us. Such a roster would serve at least two purposes: 1) to create a data base to be used for research on women academics, and 2) to provide information about specific women scholars in specific fields. Both purposes are vital, particularly at this time of increased concern about the status of women in colleges and universities and about the discrimination they often suffer there. Moreover, non-academic in- stitutions (e.g.government agencies, corporations, foundations) would doubtless find such a roster useful. 1) At the moment, we have many myths about women, but few facts. Those myths must either be verified or corrected. We need facts about their length of service in their professions; the effect of marriage and motherhood on academic work; salary differentials between men and women; publication performance; research opportunities and much else. We do not even know the effect higher education has on a woman's lifetime earnings. we do know those figures for men, another indication of preferential treatment in research. This is not to say that no research has been done. Some has, much of it excellent. Unhappily, it is not comprehensive. Many questions remain to be answered. For example, Helen Astin‘s study of women doctorates in the mid-fifties showed an astonishingly high propor- tion of them had attended women's colleges. The two leading colleges in the United States in absolute numbers of women doctorates were Hunter and Barnard. Seven of the leading 24 colleges she listed were women's colleges, although at that time only about ten percent of the women undergraduates were attending women's colleges. Two questions are obvious: (1) Are the women's colleges still leading producers of women doctorates? and (2) What was there about them that made them or their students so successful then? Those institutions thinking now about admitting women, those which have Just become coeducational, and those traditionally coeducational should, it seems, know what factors in college life encouraged women to work at their intellectual bests.