A recent New York Times article reported on gains made by women on the Harvard University faculty during the tenure of Bryn Mawr alumna Drew Gilpin Faust ’68. According to higher-education reporter Tamar Lewin, “Professors can get up to $20,000 to help pay for child care, there are new programs to encourage young women to pursue science and research careers, and seven of the 16 members of Harvard’s Council of Deans are now women.”
Faust succeeded former president (and current director of the National Economic Council) Larry Summers, who sparked a nationwide controversy with remarks suggesting that women’s underrepresentation in math and science fields might be the result of innate differences.She has previously been Dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute and, before her appointment as president, was asked to lead a task force on removing barriers to women’s achievement at the university.
Other gains cited in the New York Times story: last year, tenure offers were extended to 16 women and 25 men (as opposed to four women and 28 men in the last year of Summers’ presidency); and women now make up just over a quarter of Harvard’s faculty—an all-time high—with senior positions accounting for most of the increase. Nevertheless, Lewin reports, “At Harvard, as at most American research universities, math and science remain male domains.”