How nice to hear the sound of breaking glass again! Harvard University, one of the elite Ivy League universities, recently named Drew Gilpin Faust as its first woman president in its 371-year history. Ms. Faust replaces Lawrence Summers, whose remarks that genetic differences between the sexes explain the lack of women in top science jobs, caused a nationwide debate and commentary on gender differences.
Despite the 50-50 leadership split at the Ivy League institutions, only 20 percent of US colleges and universities are run by women.
While the glass ceiling is an informal and invisible method of discrimination, what other explanation exists to explain Harvard’s 371-year stretch of male presidents? Lack of credentials? Lack of experience? Those are old and tired excuses with which women are all too familiar.
Drew Gilpin Faust, 59 years old, was raised in Virginia horse country – her own family bred and raised thoroughbred horses. Dr. Faust graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1968, magna cum laude with honors in history. She went on to the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a master’s degree in 1971 and a doctorate in 1975 in American civilization.
Ms. Faust is an eminent historian and outstanding academic leader who has served since 2001 as the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her expertise lies in the areas of Civil War history and southern history. She is a published author of several books addressing Civil War and southern issues as well as co-author of a number of other collaborations.
Congratulations to another “broken glass.” Now we need to work on those other 80% of institutions not headed by well-qualified women!