The Women's Center and career planning, June 24, 1971

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An important function of the Women's Center will be to implement career planning - to help students and alumnae to think seriously about the full range of careers, to make appropriate plans, and to go on to achieve their vocational goals. This is a large order but we believe that at a time when opportunities and options for women are expanding, Barnard is in a unique_position to pioneer in these areas.

Enlarging on current programs for students carried out by the Office of Placement and Career Planning and by a number of alumnae committees, the Center will encourage and wherever possible sponsor new projects to help students take themselves and their interests seriously and learn how to plan for productive lives. Such projects will include a program of group counseling where students will have a chance to raise questions and explore attitudes about their role as women; and an expansion of career advising to stimulate and sustain

. student interest in such traditionally male fields as business, medicine, dentistry, law, engineering, architecture and urban planning,

and to include closer ties with professional schools particularly ad- missions comittees.

In addition the Women's Center will encourage frequent seminars and career conferences, bringing in women, often alumnae representing different fields and different life styles, who are prepared to talk informally about the satisfactions and problems they face as working, women. In this way the Center will focus on one of Barnard's great strengths — the large number of successful alumnae who often express

.a willingness to share their experiences with young undergraduates.

The dialogue that the Center hopes to foster between alumnae and students, and professional alumnae and non-working alumnae who need encouragement, can be extremely significant in building new confidence, understanding, and trust among women of all ages.

Recognizing that there are discontinuities in women's lives and that many women have been channeled into subordinate positions, the Center plans to expand the services currently offered to alumnae, offering concrete vocational help whenever needed. This new emphasis will range from helping women work out flexible time and/or arrange- ments ef'getting fellowships or loans in order to complete graduate and professional training, to helping alumnae keep up to date in a field for a period when activities outside the home are impossible, to setting up workshops for groups of mature alumnae who need ‘ counseling about returning to work. ’

The amount of work to be done in the arena of careers for women is limitless and obviously quite beyond the resources of the Women's Center as we see it now. However initially the Center will be con- cerned with providing encouragement and support in a few important areas. These will include a strong commitment to exposing and ending discrimi- nation wherever we find it as it affects women seeking employment or ' entrance to graduate or professional school. The Center will endorse an expansion of our collection of vocational material, to include comprehensive and new information on careers, graduate and professional schools, as well as details on all the economic, legal and social changes affecting women. And it is expected that the Center will create an atmosphere where research on vocational activities of women will be encouraged both for our own use and for periodic publication.

Jane S. Gould June 24, 1971