Women students should not have to deny their Radcliffe identity in order to be accepted as equals at Harvard, President Horner said to approximately 100 Radcliffe Alumnae Council members at a dinner in the Faculty Club last night.
Horner said Radcliffe's goal is to provide women with access to a Harvard education and to preserve Radcliffe's uniqueness as a separate corporate identity, receptive to the needs of women today.
Radcliffe is working to improve women's status at Harvard by providing grants to encourage faculty members to pursue women's studies and by asking Harvard to grant more full professorships to women, Horner said.
The president recalled that after first lecturing in Burr B eight years ago, 15 male students approached her and said that they came only "to see what it felt like." There were only four tenured women on the faculty at that time.
Student experience with women professors is an important process of socialization, Horner said, because students must be able to work with and for women after graduation.
Horner said, however, that because of the scarcity of openings for tenureship, the non-mandatory retirement law for professors, and the expected decline in the college age population, she is not optimistic about an increase in the nation-wide number of women professors.
The dinner speech was one of several discussions, panels and lectures of the three day Radcliffe Alumnae Council meeting which ends today.
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