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General Recommendations

We have identified several ways in which women (and men) can be encouraged to be leaders in a variety of contexts, and excel academically on this campus. These points can be taken as general recommendations and as goals that specific recommendations are designed to help us pursue.

Field Hockey player huddle; students in lab

First, Princeton needs to recognize and celebrate the many ways in which both women and men undergraduates are providing leadership, the enormous amount of effective work and organizing talent they bring to organizations of all kinds.

Second, for those women who do consider running for prominent offices, Princeton needs to address residual stereotypes about whether it's "OK" for a woman to preside over a major organization. This may seem ironic to some readers, since the president of the University and several other top leaders are women; but in some student organizations, these barriers remain in place.

Third, Princeton needs to help all students imagine the potential effectiveness of elected leadership positions on campus by presenting a more detailed picture of what these roles might entail.

Fourth, we should celebrate the impressive academic record of Princeton undergraduates in every discipline; we also need to acknowledge disparities that need to be addressed.

Fifth, female and male undergraduates need to take leadership in confronting stale, old-fashioned stereotypes about female and male behavior that retain too much power in Princeton's campus social life. The evidence we have seen this year has firmly convinced us of the intricate and powerful interconnections between social and academic life on this campus. Faculty, students, and staff members cannot plausibly dismiss what happens in social and extracurricular life as irrelevant to how students perform in the classroom or approach their academic work.