Short Takes

Disabled Women Face Challenge

Feminists concerned with preventing discrimination against women should expand their goals to include women who face the double challenge of being women in a male-oriented society and dealing with a disability, disabled advocate Marsha Saxton said in a talk last night.

"I think what we need to do is to educate the public about what we as disabled women can do, and what our dreams and aspirations consist of," said Saxton, who is herself disabled by a curvature of the spine. "We need to persuade parents of disabled children that the future can hold for that child anything that she can aspire to."

Saxton is the author of a newly-released book, "With Wings," an anthology of the experiences of women with disabilities. "In 1971 I was in a women's bookstore and just happened to pick up the book 'Our Bodies, Ourselves' [by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective]." The book discusses women's sexual politics and roles. "I realized that with my disability I just didn't fit into that book. I knew that the clear goal that loomed before me was to define feminism in terms that women with disabilities could relate to."

Speaking to an audience in Agassiz Hall, Saxton stressed the need to create adult role models for disabled women. Saxton is director of the Project on Women and Disabilities at the State Office on Handicapped Affairs.


Four women panelists, representing various disability groups, discussed their educational experiences, integration into mainstream society, and their role as disabled parents.

"Denial was probably the biggest challenge for me," said Harriet Cook in an interview. "Once I could acknowledge my own handicap, I learned to deal with it." Cook, who is completely blind, lost her sight over a five-year period because of severe cataracts.

Record Blood Drive Causes Long Waits

A Red Cross volunteer said yesterday that this week's Harvard blood drive so far has the "best turnout in the post-AIDS recognition era."

Gary P. Murdoch, a Harvard graduate student who organized the campaign, said the Red Cross expected to collect 775 pints of blood but said student volunteers plan to reach their goal of 1000 pints by the drive's end on Thursday.

Already, the drive has collected blood from 420 people, 110 more people than the Red Cross anticipated, said Stacey Cohen '89.

Murdoch said he attributed the drive's success partly to efforts to target the freshman class, including a special blood drive and a table at the freshman activities fair in September.

"The freshmen are fantastic," said Cohen, adding that Currier House and Mather House have also had a large turnout.

But as a result of the large number of people giving blood, donors should expect to wait about an hour and a half to finish the process, Murdoch said.

The Red Cross normally tells donors to expect the process to take 45 minutes.

Murdoch said a shortage of nurses contributed to problem but added that the Red Cross will send additional nurses beginning today.

While Murdoch said Friday's average of 86 minutes was too long, the drive's head nurse, Pam Levensailor said, "There is a wait but that's to be expected."