Princeton University Public Lectures Series

Spencer Trask Lectures

Upcoming ::

Sex and Power: The State of Women in America

Susan Estrich, University of Southern California:

March 27, 2003, 4:30pm at McCosh 10:

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, women in America are richer, more educated, and more powerful than they've ever been. So why is it, Susan Estrich asks, that they account for a mere three percent of the nation's top executives? Why are there only three women running Fortune 500 companies? A quick survey of politics, academia, law, medicine, and entertainment reveals similar troubling inequities. Twenty-five years ago, the women who were "firsts" were supposed to have blazed a trail. Today, fewer and fewer women are choosing to take that path. Why have so many women opted out of the race for power? And why is it that women fail to call into action the power they already have as consumers, voters, shareholders, agents of change? It is Susan Estrich's belief that until women reach the seats of power-where the rules are made-the deck will continue to be stacked against them. And the consequences, she writes, will be paid by future generations of daughters-and sons. Much of Estrich's critical focus is trained on the question of ambition: Are women today ambitious enough, both individually and collectively? When a woman chooses the mommy track, is it a victory for freedom of choice or a setback that underscores the limits of her either/or options? Are younger women too complacent, feeling that the battles for sexual equality were won long ago? On the contrary, Estrich argues. The battles were only half won; there is a revolution to finish.

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About the Spencer Trask Lectures Series

Founded in 1891 with a gift of $10,000 from Spencer Trask of the Class of 1866, and supplemented by an additional $10,000 from his estate, for the purpose of securing the services of eminent men to deliver public lectures before the University on subjects of special interest." The vagueness of this wording is consistent with that of the Catalogue of the College of New Jersey of 1891-1892, but between 1937-1938 and 1970-1971 the policy of the Committee on Public Lectures was to "select lecturers on this foundation who will emphasize the importance of the humanities."

Lecturers have included Niels Bohr on "The Structure of the Atom" (1923-1924); Arnold J. Toynbee on "Near Eastern Affairs" (1925-1926); T. S. Eliot on "The Bible and English Literature," (1932-1933); Bertrand Russell on "Mind and Matter" (1950-1951); and Margaret Mead on "Changing American Character" (1975-1976). Trask was a successful financier and one of Thomas Edisonís original backers. He was killed in a railroad accident in 1909.