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Harvard Criticized for Allowing Gender Goals to Slip

September 23, 2004
The percentage of women hired for tenured positions at Harvard’s main school is headed downward, according to reports on CNN and by the Associated Press.

In the 2000-01 school year, 36 percent of tenured job offers went to women at the arts and sciences school. That percentage plummeted to 19 percent in the 2002-03 academic year.

CNN reports that 26 professors have asked Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers to address the issue of gender diversity. The Boston Globe says that in a letter to Summers, the professors wrote: "'There is a perception that in the change to a new administration, and with the press of numerous new initiatives, such efforts have lagged at Harvard."

The "new initiatives" refers partly to Harvard’s efforts to find rising stars, academics who are often getting attention at the very age at which women are temporarily cutting back for family considerations.

Summers, according to the Globe, points out that Harvard is "pouring $25 million into an outreach fund to help recruit women." It is also creating a fellowship to bring female scholars to campus for a year in the hopes that they will become candidates for jobs at the university when the year’s up.