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Lawyers Cite Sex Discrimination in Schools

Criticize Mass. Secondary Schools

By Joy Horowitz

Two women's rights advocates told a Cambridge Forum audience of about 50 last night that the crucial area of concern over women's rights in education lies in children's education.

Diane Lund, assistant professor at the Law School, and Regina Healey, instructor at the Radcliffe Institute, who in 1971 drafted Chapter 622 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, explained that the Massachusetts Board of Education is still considering how to enforce Chapter 622, which prohibits discrimination in public schools on the basis of sex.

"It took a long time for the state to realize that it had a responsibility to implement change. We're looking for some self-executing way of implementing this law. One would like to see the school themselves change," Lund said.

Lund said that the part of the law which has the most significance deals with sex discrimination in areas such as shop, homemaking, textbooks and teaching materials.

Healey added that chemistry textbooks are still being used in Massachusetts which show girls bleaching their hair and "concocting chemicals to make themselves look prettier."

"At every level of American life, it seems clear that sex discrimination is carried through, either overtly or covertly," Lund said.

Sexism at Harvard

Lund said that discrimination is even present in those with the "highest level of consciousness." She explained that one of the final exam questions which she gave in her course at the Law School. "Women and the Law" dealt with an unidentified public school principal whom all 55 students in the course identified as a male.

"We don't know yet how to assess the success of the women's movement in education." Healey said. "But if we would have to evaluate it now we would be using a male standard of measurement. What we're talking about is a variety of life-style choices. People should be able to determine for themselves what option they choose."

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