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December 08, 1974 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1974-12-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

editors:
laura Berman
howard brick
contributing editors:
dan borus
mary long

Sunduy

inside:

mcagazine

page four-books
page five-
reflections on
scroog e

Number 13 Page Three Decem
FEATUF

ber 8, 1974
tES

Women pro fs: Now accepted

but n
By LAURA BERMAN
IN 1964, two years after she be-
came the only woman member
of the Anthropology department,
Norma Diamond delivered the op-
ening lecture to one of the intro-
ductory classes. A mammoth class,
the lecture went without a hitch
and a male student came up to her
at the end. "I would never have
signed up for this course," he said
with a good measure of disgust, "if
I had known it was going to be
taught by a woman."
Ten years have passed. ,Women
professors are still something of a
novelty. It is conceivable that a
student in LSA could attend school
here for four years and never have
to confront the sight of a woman
at the podium. But it is doubtful
that any student today would re-
act with the same antipathyias
that student did to Norma Dia-
mond. ten years ago. In the past
decade, three more women have
joined the Anthro department and
similar "adjustments" have been
made in many other departments,
although not in all, and not to the
extent promised when the Univer-
sity committed itself to an affirm-
ative action program in 1972 (see
box).
"In the last few years," Diamond
says drily," some women have been
hired, others have been given ten-
ure, some have received long over-
due promotions. But nothing has
come close to what the expecta-
tions are. The end result is not
terribly exciting."
HERE HAVE BEEN other ad-.
vances. The Women's Studies
program was launched a few years
back and is thriving. The affirma-
tive action program has corrected
most of the inequities in salary
levels. And women faculty mem-
bers are represented on virtually
every administrative committee -
a policy - making role they were
completely excluded from just a
few years back. But for all the ad-
vances, the academic community
remains a decidedly male world:
women are invited to serve on com-
mittees but the committees are
usually chaired by men, women are
appointed to professorial positions
in departments headed by men.
They are not exactly invaders but
neither are they fully accepted
members of the gang. "When the
boys get together to go drinking,
they don't ask us to come along,"
says Peg Lourie, an assistant pro-
fessor of English and chairwoman

tyet p
of the Women's Studies program.
Even the women who defend
their particular departments as
fair and non-discriminatory have
some "horror stories" from the
past.
Marilyn Young, an associate pro-
fessor of history who teaches at the
Residential College, recalls a cock-
tail party at Dartmouth College
("Dartmouth was the most misogy-
nist place one can imagine. You
were who your husband was."). She
was introduced as "a person in her
own right" because she was a Ph.D.
"As if I wouldn't have been a per-
son in my own right had I never
completed my dissertation," she
observes. But she also says that
nothing similar has ever happen-
ed to her here. It has to others.

9

rt of th
a male world," Diamond says,
"male colleagues are hesitant to
be too friendly to women profes-
sors. They can't treat us like we're
one of the boys. And as a conse-
quence, women faculty are cut out
from the social life - parties com-
prised mostly of male academics
and their wives." The woman aca-
demic has no place in the Univer-
sity's social life, especially if she
is a single woman - it is too easy
for any social contact to be mis-
construed. The sexual element is
always there.
As a result, the women tend to
band together. Male academics
know the people in their depart-
ment and in related fields; the
women know other women. But
even female gatherings provoke

"The Fifties was one of the most godawful
periods in American history," says Anthropol-
ogy professor Norma Diamond. "When I was
an undergrad all the women were dropping
out in their junior year because they were en-
gaged to guys who were graduating. And in
grad school, most of the other women grads
were majoring in h o m e economics. Every-
where I turned I was surrounded by people
baking chocolate cakes."
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% ?i d?..,?:" . . . ..}}; .. .'p -y...-................... .? ":{q .v.
:......e:.. .}: 1 :::::.:::. . ....::. 6 r i:f.::' . ,:. ..r.:p .......

e gang
grad school, most of the other wo-
men there seemed to be majoring
in home economics. So everywhere
I turned I was surrounded by peo-
ple baking chocolate cakes. It was
weird."
IN DEFIANCE OF the American
law of progress, the '40's seem
to have been a much more toler-
ant era: the intense social pres-
sures that surfaced in the '50's
came only when the soldiers re-
turned. Neither Lorraine Nadel-
man, an associate professor of
psychology, nor Harriet Mills, a
professor of Chinese studies, both
of whom were educated in the '40's,
felt frustrated by the times.
Nadelman postponed marriage,
Mills has never married, Marilyn
Young let marriage interfere with
a cereer for a time. Women in aca-
demia are faced with some hard
decisions few women and even few-
er men ever have to make. The
choices - remain single, compro-
mise a career by putting family
first, compromise a rewarding
home life in return for a success-
ful career. If a husband is offered
a job at another University, does
the wife follow, even if there is no
job waiting for her? The optimum
may still be a balance between
home and career, but how does one
achieve it? "I am aware of what
you have to give up to make it,"
says Nadelman. "I think anybody
who tries to juggle several roles
finds that time becomes a very
valuable commodity; and certain
things just have to give. You find
that household chores come last_-
that you can't have the kind of
house you grew up in where it was
clean enough to eat off the floor."
She has shared the responsibili-
ty for her three children with her
husband, a professor at Dearborn,
but she also took seven years off
when her children were small.
And Nadelman's lifestyle, while
not strictly traditional, is certainly
more conventional than the ar-
rangements other women have had
to work out.
Susan Chipman, a visiting assist-,
ant professor in Psychology, is
married although her husband is
teaching in Colorado. "Since I was
very young, I knew that I wanted
to have a career, a demanding ca-
reer. And I always knew I would
have to face these kinds of ques-
tions."
"I REALIZE it is going to be very
difficult to find jobs for both

Norma Diamond

LOURIE TELLS OF one woman
student who applied to the
University's E n g l i s h gradu-
ate school in the mid-Sixties and
was thoroughly grilled by the
chairman. "You don't really want
a Ph.D., do you?" the chairman
(now retired) asked: "I know
you're just looking for a husband
and tht chance to settle down and
have babies."
Most of these tales have been
dredged up from the past; there
has been a gradual recognition on
the part of the faculty that women
have been excluded and it is now
time to make amends. "I think the
men have learned a great deal,"
says Diamond, "or at least they
are more aware of what they say
aloud, they are more cautious about
making denigrating remarks." It is
not so much a matter of being in-
sulted, women professors say, as it
is of being ignored or overlooked
or distrusted.
"Since this is so overwhelmingly

some suspicion, says Lourie. "Some-
times, the women of the English
department will be sitting in the
lounge talking and male faculty
members will peer in suspiciously
-checking up, I think, in case
we're hatching a conspiracy."
BUT MANY OF the women pro-
fessors here began their ca-
reers in a climate much more hos-
tile to ambitious, intellectual wo-
men than the one that exists to-
day. They went to school in the
'40's and '50's and early '60's when
the academic world outside the
confines of women's colleges was
almost totally dominated by men.
They were forced to make choices
-bout their roles as women in a
society that fully accepted women
in one role only: that of wife and
mother. In times less accepting
than these, they have overcome so-
cietal stereotypes to pursue an
academic career; they have over-
come discrimination barriers to get
jobs (although Peg Lourie was
hired a few years ago because she
is a woman).
And yet they are a disparate
group. Some were seemingly born
with feminist consciousnesses while
others never gave the matter of
their sex much thought until the
women's movement emerged. Still
others recognized that being a wo-
man meant following a different
code of behavior and they accept-
ed it.
Marilyn Young belongs in the
latter category. As a student at
Vassar and later at Harvard in the
'50's, she never questioned the role
assigned her. "For a women it was
just harder," she gays. It was a
time when people were talking
about "creative motherhood," the
baby boom - there was no ques-
~ tion of becoming a wife and moth-
er. It was what you did."
FOR YOUNG THAT meant sever-
al years when she was unable
to teach because she was not of-
fered a job at Dartmouth where
her husband, history professor Er-
nest Young, had accepted a posi-
tion. But it was her husband who
spurred her to revive her career.
He took the job here because she
could work as well, but "I was re-

of us in the same place. And al-
though my relationship with my
husband is a good one, the satisfac-
tion to be obtained from it, for
me, is not as important as the
satisfaction I get from solving in-
tellectual puzzles. So I am .not at
all sure about what is going to
happen."
Diamond's husband works at the
United Nations in New York; they
can afford to see each other once
a month when they are both work-
ing; between both of their vaca-
tions, they can piece together an-
other five months. "It's been diffi-
cult, but we get a lot of work done
this way," she says with a smile.
Marilyn Young's teaching career
ground to a halt when she first
married, and it wasn't until she
had someone to take care of her
children that she was able to do
the work necessary to complete her
first book.
And it wasn't until the women's
movement emerged in the late
'60's that she began to conscious-
ly question the assumptions she
held about women's status. The

women's movement had a power-
ful effect on the academic com-
munity here: on the administra-
tive policy, male attitudes and on
the women themselves. Many ,of
the women interviewed for this ar-
ticle have, at one time or another,
been involved in consciousness
raising groups. They all acknowl-
edge that the women's movement
has made them more conscious of
the problems and kinds of discrim-
ination women have faced in the
past. It also has made them aware
of their position as role models for
women students.
YOUNG RECALLS a lecture she
gave for an LSA class in the
early 70's. At the end of the lec-
ture, a group of women students
crowded around her to thank her
because they had never seen a wo-
man lecture before. "It is not an
utterly male world any more," she
says. "Things have changed." Di-
amond sees the changes somewhat
differently. "Not many years ago,
there were very few people who
took women professors seriously,"
she says. "Now at least the women
do."

Affirmative action a t U'

WHILE WOMEN have made significant inroads
into professorial ranks at the University in
the past few years, they are still far from gaining
representation on the faculty in proportion to their
at-large population.
Women faculty members comprise 13.83 per cent
of the total faculty, an increase of only two- tenths
of a per cent from the year before. The number of
tenured women on the faculty is even more dispro-
portionate - just 10.75 per cent of the tenured
faculty.
Two years ago, the University committed itself
to an affirmative action program that set a goal
of 54 additional women on the instructional staff
by the end of the 1975-76 school year. But the Uni-
versity's budgetary problems coupled with the re-
luctance of some departments to recruit women
make it unlikely that the mark will be reached by
that date.
"I'M DISAPPOINTED at the effort that is being
put forth," says Dr. Nellie Varner, director of
affirmative action programs. "At the pace we're
going now, we will not reach our projected goals.
Assuming future years are no better than this year,
we should reach only about half that number."
For the most part, the success of the affirma-
tive action program rests with individual depart-
ment heads. Various departments have complied

The greatest concentration of women can be
found in traditionally "women's fields." The Eng-
lish department has 13 female faculty members at
the instructor level or above; Phychology has 19.

;.. _ .

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