When Harvard performs the laying-of-hands ceremony on its select student superstars, it often seems to keep its hands off women undergraduates and graduates.
A recent study, released this week, reveals that although the University's 1972 legal action opened competition for 29 male-only monetary prizes to women, women students in the last two years have won only one-seventeenth of the prize funds for which they are newly eligible.
Moreover, in a sample of ten separate monetary awards that have always been open to both men and women students, women have grossed $4106 in the last 12 years, compared to a total for men of $25,298. The four-to-one ratio of men to women Harvard students does not compensate for the discrepancy in either case.
Katherine A. Hutchins and Connie J.C. Gersick, who conducted the study for the OGCP and the Office of Women's Education, have begun to investigate the selection process for several prizes.
The revelations raised eyebrows in many Harvard quarters. Alberta Arthurs, dean of admissions, financial aid and women's education, who requested the study, said the findings are "even more mysterious than we had supposed." Diagnoses of the discrepancy range from accusations of discrimination against women applicants to a more benign disinterest among students--men and women--in the competitions.
Whatever the explanation, Dean Whitlock has given the study and recommendation his "full support," and has drafted a letter of inquiry to committees that administer those prizes that women have not received in proportion to their eligible numbers.