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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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  • Published:
    Sep 2019, 400 pages


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Molly B. (Longmont, CO)

Appreciation for The Inside Story
As a woman who entered Yale in its 4th year of coeducation, I am most likely biased in my appreciation for this book. But even readers who have nothing to do with Yale might value this inside story of a venerable institution, terribly homogeneous, struggling to decide its future course. Hats off to the women and men who stood up to entrenched power and did not let Yale rest on its laurels. The author does a great job following the struggles of specific individuals – this technique makes the story come alive. I am astounded at how unaware many of us were of what the first women, just a few years ahead of us, had to endure. I am full of appreciation for the women who went before me, and for the efforts of Anne Perkins to enlighten us all.
Power Reviewer
Sandra H. (St. Cloud, MN)

Second Class citizens
Fascinating book.
Patricia E. (Sugarcreek, OH)

Great Nonfiction
In the fall of 1969 I entered a small Midwestern co-ed college as a freshman. Many of the accounts in this book match my memories. It was a transitional time not only for me but for the entire American culture. Author Anne Gardiner Perkins captures the period perfectly following a group of the first women to enter Yale as undergraduates. For some the pressure of being a small minority on campus, almost a spectacle, was too much. For others the challenges made their wills stronger and their goals more attainable. It seems almost laughable now to look back to that time and realize the strict adherence to gender stereotypes that had to be overcome. And it is a source of pride that many of the changes that didn't come easily for the first female undergraduates at Yale or for those of us at other colleges were accomplished in spite of the obstacles. For historians, women who have experienced the glass ceiling, or anyone whose college years began in the late 1960s, I highly recommend that this book.
Elizabeth T. (Salem, MA)

A Glimpse of My Past -- sort of
I loved this book from beginning to end, partly because I had just graduated from college when Yale opened its doors to women. I visited Yale in the bad old days when we Smithies piled onto the bus each weekend to see our beaux in New Haven. I was naive enough to be envious of that first and second class: "Think of the attention! Think of the choice of boyfriends!" Little did I know that the college wouldn't let these very young women have locks on their bathroom doors and that the chivalry I had experienced as a date wore away quickly when the Yale male bastion was threatened. But how strong these first Yale women were! Each in her own way, they fought for their place -- on the hockey fields and even at Mory's. Some who felt they had to leave because of sexual assault actually returned to earn their degree after all! And they raised the whole academic level of the college, because unlike many of the men, they took learning seriously. It was very enlightening to look back at these pioneer women from the perspective of "Me Too."
Liz B. (Fairview, TX)

An Enlightening Look at History
I was particularly interested in reading this book as I also found myself an unlikely pioneer in college......among the first women attending Washington and Lee University in 1985. We numbered only 100 of 1600 undergrads on campus. I found many similarities, not all of them positive, between my experiences and those of the women of Yale in 1969. This book is well-written and easily engages the reader with the lives of 5 women as well as many other figures at the university at that time. There are some fascinating details, including the shadows of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war protests, looming among these students battling for equality in their secondary education. I think this book is a must-read for those interested in the evolution of university coeducation as well as women's rights. We must study history, not ignore or destroy it, in order to learn how to better ourselves for the future. This is a great study in the history of American education.
Charlene M. (Myrtle Beach, SC)

Yale Needs Women
I have read many books about the history of equality for women - from aviation to education - what I'm most surprised about is the lack of empathy, stubbornness of some men, and, on the other side, the vision of both men and women as to what contributions both can bring to our world and society.

Anne Gardiner Perkin's book "Yale Needs Women" captures the desire of women who deserve an equal chance at a university college of THEIR choice - not to settle for anything less.

A book full of history, the lives of women that were pioneers of not just equality in education but in all aspects of life. "Yale Needs Women" is a book every young person should read.
Kara M. (Indianapolis, IN)

Fifty Years after Women at Yale
Timed perfectly to the 50th anniversary of the first women to enter Yale as students, Perkins has written a captivating oral history focused on five Yale Women and many of the other supporting individuals who made coeducation a reality at Yale.

The stories of the women are wound nicely together around the events that were happening at the time including the Black Panther trial and Vietnam War protests. The stories are rich and chronicle many intricacies of these women's lives.

Woman in higher education today have gained much because of the individual struggles these women faced. I truly appreciate what they have done and the beautiful way Gardiner has captured their stories.
Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)

An important chapter in education history
The pioneering cohorts of women at Yale in the early 1970s confronted many obstacles. The artificial quotas intended to make sure that Yale could continue to graduate its "one thousand male leaders" each year meant that women had to be at least twice as good as the men to even be considered for admission. And once they got there, they faced issues that their male fellow students didn't have to face, including safety concerns and sexual harassment (a phrase that didn't even exist at the time). This is an important book about an important chapter in education history. And Perkins has managed to make it an interesting story, too.

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