Rose Lenehan ’11 and Michael Muller ’12 wrote a Letter to the Editor to address the lack of females in the alumni profiles in the Friday, Oct. 21 issue of The Student.
When we initially perused the “Alumni Profiles” in this year’s Homecoming edition, we were struck by the ratio of men to women profiled (it’s 10:1). At first, we chalked this curiosity up to the fact that there are simply more men in the alum pool, given that Amherst only started admitting women a quarter-century ago. But when we noticed that half the men who are featured graduated after Amherst commenced its first co-ed class, and that the only female who is profiled — the unquestionably notable Julie Powell ’95 — is most famous because her story was given (due) recognition by an industry dominated by males, we were annoyed and disappointed.
We don’t mean to discredit the men who were recognized this year. We only think it’s worth pointing out that editions of The Student such as those published during Homecoming and Commencement, which make public the achievements of individuals in the community, serve to reflect and create the image of success at Amherst. If that image is overwhelmingly male, we subtly and dangerously discourage and disvalue our female students and alumnae.
In recent years, the College has worked to promote itself as a space of inclusivity, and tried actively to bury its historical “boy’s club” brand. We tend to believe that the fight has been won by the side for equality and equity. But this edition of The Student, while clearly well-intentioned, indicates that there is still work to be done if we’re to have a robust and comprehensive notion of “Lives of Consequence.”