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TRINITY Magazine 2006

The Evolving Role of Women

Men and women are fundamentally different.  From John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, to statements made by Harvard President Larry Summers and perhaps even your parents as you were growing up, many people accept the fact that men and women have innate gender differences.  Caryl Rivers and Kellyanne Conway didn’t necessarily set out to debunk this myth, but merely to study it.

Women value careers and work as much as men do. Women are not the only people experiencing childcare and family leave obstacles. Women are not primarily looking for partners who only care for them financially. There is no scientific evidence to back the notion that males’ and females’ brains are so different that they should be taught differently… These ideas should not be a surprise to anyone, but these two books give facts and statistics to back them up.

Caryl Rivers ’59 teamed up with Rosalind Barnett, a senior scientist at Brandeis University, to write Same Difference, How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs (Basic Books, 2004).  Rivers is a professor of journalism at Boston University and a nationally known columnist, author, journalist and media critic.  Her television drama A Matter of Principal won a Gabriel Award as one of the best television dramas of the year, and she regularly contributes to The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday and other major U.S. newspapers and she is a frequent panelist on Boston television stations.

Kellyanne Conway ’89 coauthored What Women Really Want, How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live with Celinda Lake, president of Lake Snell Perry Associates, a research-based strategy firm.  Conway is president and CEO of the polling company™, inc., a privately-held, woman-owned corporation she founded in 1995 which includes WomenTrend, a research and consulting division that for years has tracked and interpreted important trends influencing women.  Conway, who was recognized with The Washington Post “Crystal Ball” award as the most accurate predictor of the 2004 elections, has provided primary research and advice for clients in 46 states and has directed hundreds of surveys for statewide and congressional political races, including Fortune 100 companies.

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