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Do women belong at MIT? An alumnus speaks:

Janet Mertz Mertz at oncology.wisc.edu
Wed Sep 6 07:04:06 EST 2000

>Despite the recent efforts of the MIT faculty to make things more
>inclusive, it
>would appear that the MIT community still has a long ways to go.
>MIT PhD 1989
As a fellow alumnae of MIT (BS, 1970) and interviewer of prospective
students, I am willing to second the comment that MIT may still be far from
perfect in its treatment of women. On the other hand, it has always been
and continues to be far ahead of many of the other elite universities in
the US. It was founded as a co-ed institution in 1865 at a time when few
co-ed colleges even existed! Although there were only 5% women
undergraduates when I attended MIT, many of the other top-rated colleges
were still male only at that time and would not have even considered an
application from em (e.g., Yale, Princeton, Caltech, Harvard required women
to attend Radcliffe, Columbia required women to attend Barnard). MIT was
actively recruiting women students and faculty in the 1970s when other
colleges were only beginning to allow in women students and faculty at all
in attempts to head off lawsuits against them. For a school in which a
majority of its students are computer science or engineering majors to have
42% women at present is an amazing achievement. Just as amazing is MIT's
administration being willing to admit publically the existence of de facto
discrimination against its women faculty and to take measures to try to
correct the problems. Before we knock MIT for not yet being perfect, we
should consider where it is relative to its peers.

Janet Mertz

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