When women were admitted to Ivy League schools, the complaints sounded a lot like a Trump tweet

tags: womens history, sexism, Coeducation, Ivy League schools

Nancy Weiss Malkiel is the author of “ ‘Keep the Damned Women Out’: The Struggle for Coeducation.”

Whenever women make a claim on roles that have belonged to men, this is what they’re told: “You don’t belong.” “You can’t handle it.” Here are this year’s variations: “You don’t look presidential.” “You don’t have the stamina.”

The same negative litany was heard repeatedly when the historically male Ivy League colleges and universities were contemplating co-education. For generations it had been an article of faith that women did not belong there. When the men in charge of these institutions decided in the late 1960s that they had to admit women, it wasn’t out of high-minded regard for equal rights; they acted on the basis of self-interest. Applications from the most talented male high school students were starting to decline. Those young men — the colleges called them the “best boys” — wanted to go to college with women. Admitting women was a deliberate move on the part of schools such as Yale and Princeton to recapture their hold on talented men.

But where university administrators saw strategic advantage, many alumni saw heresy. My university, Princeton, affords a case in point.

“If Princeton goes coeducational,” a member of the class of 1932 declared, “my alma mater will have been taken away from me, and PRINCETON IS DEAD.” A member of the class of 1936 objected to diluting “Princeton’s sturdy masculinity with disconcerting, mini-skirted young things cavorting on its playing fields.” ...

Read entire article at The Los Angeles Times

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