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Yale Needs Women

How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant

by Anne Gardiner Perkins

Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins X
Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2019, 400 pages
    Sep 8, 2020, 400 pages


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Rosemary C. (Golden, CO)

Higher Education and the Second Wave Women's Movement
Anne Gardner Perkins has carefully documented an important time in the modern women's movement and made it come alive by zeroing in on the experiences of the first women admitted to Yale and the efforts made by them and other allies to increase the number of women to a level equal to that of the male students. This book may have been of particular interest to me because I entered a public university in Texas the same year the first women arrived at Yale. It was fascinating to read of their experiences on that Ivy League campus and to see how they contrasted or paralleled my own. Gardiner Perkins did an excellent job describing the women and what happened over about a four-year timeline. This is definitely a worthwhile read.
Elizabeth S. (East Hartford, CT)

Yale Needed Women(to stay competitive)
An engaging well documented history of Yale finally beginning to accept women in the fall of 1969, not for benevolent motives, but because it was losing applicants to coed colleges. The lack of preparation for women, including for their safety and reluctance to change the ratio of men to women makes it clear that women were not really welcome. Many interviews flesh out the history of grass roots movements to finally make Yale genuinely coed, despite much resistance.
I graduated from Radcliffe in 1969 with a Harvard degree. I learned much about the difference between Yale and Harvard reading this. Clearly Yale needed women because they were losing them to Harvard!
Terrie J. (Eagan, MN)

Powerful Piece of History
I had no idea that 1969 was the first year women were accepted into Yale. The women who were the first were very strong and determined to have a successful career at Yale and in New Haven. They paved the way for women to participate in activities. They also brought awareness of a popular restaurant that wouldn't allow women and worked to change that.

This piece of history needed to be told and this book captured it well. This was a well written book with a lot of facts. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)

Yale and Women
Here is a bit of history that has been a long time coming - rather like the speed at which Yale took care of the co-education issue. Thanks to Anne Gardiner Perkins then, for finally bringing it all to light and all the women who shared their stories.
All women need to read this for the historical perspective and a better understanding of the long hard road taken to get women into a more equal position in the country as well as this particular university. (There is still not an equal rights amendment to the Constitution, btw).

This is social history and while even that will put some people off, it is a good read and I recommend it. Hey, it's a mere 275 pages! Surely, once read, many will say, "Ahh, I see now..." and be inspired by the courage and resilience written about in these pages.
Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)

This is a must read
This is the story of women fighting for their rights in a male dominated college,e.g. sports, music. There also were no role models, professors, guidance counselors. My daughter and granddaughters need to read this book; some of these issues exist today, pay equity being the most obvious. This book was very well written and I am recommending it to several book groups. I put 50 sticky tags on pages so I can lead the discussion. I was in college just before this time, at a public university, and one of the best parts were all the women I met and spent time with supporting each other. When you read the Epilogue and see what they did with their lives after school, you know how tough and strong they were. They made many women's lives better and easier. Highly recommend this book.
Nona F. (Evanston, IL)

A page-turner, a must-read history of the women's movement
I requested this book because I had been admitted to the Yale Class of 1974 and was wondering what I had missed by going elsewhere. Nothing. And everything.

Yale admitted women to the undergraduate class in fall 1969 for the first time, largely because the school had lost a significant number of highly qualified male applicants who preferred to go to co-educational colleges. Having taken this step, the university took virtually no further actions to integrate women into its culture. Outnumbered seven to one, women were isolated, without administrative or self-support systems, regarded as classroom curiosities or sexual prey. Anne Gardiner Perkins' history of the incipient women's movement at Yale traces how over the course of four years, Yale women—undergrad and grad students, the very few faculty and administrators, nonacademic staff—and even some men worked on issues that influenced change not only at the institution at the state and federal levels.

This is a page-turner of a story, built around compelling individuals, a must-read for those interested in the history of the women's movement. It's a chronicle of survival in higher education, told by the women who lived it. The problems these women faced are still rampant in our society today: this is a history you should not pass up.
Shelley C. (Eastport, NY)

Boo to Yale, Not Boola, Boola!
In the fall of 1969, I was finishing my senior year at Hunter College in NYC, a school that had admitted men for the first time only a few years before. I was totally unaware of the drama taking place in Yale or Princeton or any other private college. I had no clue about the traumas those women faced as I enjoyed my studies and the social life afforded me because of my choice of school. But I do know now!

What an eye opener "Yale Needs Women" is! It is informative. It is beautifully written. And it is a must read for anyone with a heart and a conscience, male or female.

Ms. Perkins has written a compelling narrative that brings to life the trials and tribulations of some of those brave women who endured their untenable situation with as much dignity as possible, and actually fought back!

This book is so relevant today, when the, "MeToo" movement, has forced everyone to take note, and in many cases, take ownership of the misogyny that has gripped this nation for far too long. Bravo Ms. Perkins and bravo to those women who endured Yale during the early years of the women's movement for equality.
Gaye R. (Coupeville, WA)

Women and Equality
As one reads Yale Needs Women, you are struck by the courage and perseverance of the first women students of Yale. Then you ask yourself, where is that courage and perseverance today to continue the work toward equality for all. As this book portrays, the journey of equality is never easy, never quick and is still needed today. As Yale women celebrate 50 years of coeducation, their stories also prove to be inspiration for today.

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