Conference Program

Across the globe, there is a growing awareness that the education of women and girls is key to economic and social development, to the achievement of gender equity and to the promotion of social justice.  While female literacy rates have risen and girls’ enrollment in elementary and secondary schools has seen big gains in the last two decades, the geographical distribution of these advances remains sadly uneven.  In many parts of the world women and girls still have limited access to all levels of equal and excellent education and, therefore, fewer opportunities for economic betterment and civic leadership.

Despite such obstacles, however, some extraordinary colleges and schools devoted to the education of women and girls have developed in many parts of the world.  These are beacon institutions whose missions and histories exhibit an enduring commitment to the ideals of education for empowerment.  Their alumnae have made transformative contributions to their respective societies and they continue to graduate young women who will shape a brighter future for us all.

In September 2010, women leaders, scholars, students, alumnae and activists from around the world will convene on the campus of Bryn Mawr College to celebrate the empowering heritage of women’s education and to chart a course for its future.  Conference speakers and participants will explore how women’s colleges, girls’ schools, and myriad social and educational initiatives in the U.S. and abroad can advance opportunity for girls and women through intergenerational, interdisciplinary, and international collaboration. 

Since its founding in 1885, Bryn Mawr has manifested a commitment to excellence in women’s education and to international outreach. The College is proud to host “Heritage and Hope” in conjunction with its 125th anniversary celebrations. 

The conference will run from Thursday afternoon, 23 September to Saturday afternoon, 25 September, 2010.  Keynote addresses, moderated panel presentations, and facilitated discussions will engage all conference participants.

Panels and addresses will be held in the Mary Patterson McPherson Auditorium, Goodhart Hall, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA unless otherwise noted.  Friday evening’s keynote address and dinner will take place at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA.

Thursday, September 23

1-2 p.m. Welcome and Opening Presentation

Welcome:  Bryn Mawr College President Jane McAuliffe

Presentation:  Professor Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Smith College

Women and Higher Education: A Look in Two Directions

Professor Horowitz will explore the long debate over women and higher education as it emerged in Bryn Mawr's early years and has returned in our own time.

2:15-3:30 p.m. Leveling the Academic Playing Field:  Strategies for Change that Work

Panelists will speak about successful strategies for meeting challenges that women continue to face in the academy, such as lower tenure rates, greater concentration in contingent positions, equity gaps in salaries, and disproportionate family care responsibilities.  

  • Nancy Hopkins, Amgen, Inc. Professor of Biology, MIT
  • Ann Mari May, Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska.  Editor of The ‘Woman Question’ and Higher Education (2008)
  • Judith Glazer-Raymo, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.  Editor of Unfinished Agendas: New and Continuing Gender Challenges in Higher Education (2008)
  • Geri Richmond, Richard M. and Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry, University of Oregon

Moderator: Janice M. Hicks, Executive Officer, Division of Chemistry, National Science Foundation

Thursday, 23 September 2010

3:45-5 p.m. Contemporary Issues in Access and Equity

Panelists will address obstacles to the continued development of girls’ and women’s learning around the globe, such as differential funding, cultural impediments, social and political resistance, and the lack of post graduation professional opportunities.

  • Janet L. Holmgren, President, Mills College
  • Louise Morley, University of Sussex, Director of the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER), Department of Education; Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Caroline Ndarua, Professor and former Vice Chancellor, Kiriri Women’s University of Science and Technology (Kenya)
  • Elaine Unterhalter, Professor of Education and International Development, University of London, UNESCO

Moderator: Mary Osirim, Professor of Sociology, Bryn Mawr College

5:15- 6:15 p.m. Facilitated Discussion Groups

6:30 p.m. Cocktails and Dinner
Thomas Great Hall, Bryn Mawr College

8 p.m. Bus transportation to Center City hotel


Friday, September 24

9-10:30 a.m. The ‘Girl Power’ of Single-Sex Education

Panelists will speak about the connections (and disconnections) between girls’ secondary schools and women’s colleges.  They will reflect on the revival of interest in single-sex schooling in public school districts in various parts of the United States and elsewhere

  • Bodie Brizendine, Headmistress, The Spence School, New York
  • Anna Shurak, Interim Principal, The Young Women’s Leadership School at Rhodes High School, Philadelphia
  • Lorna Hanley, Principal, Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women
  • Sally Powell, Headmistress, The Baldwin School, Bryn Mawr
  • Maureen Walsh, Headmistress, The Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore

Moderator: Rosemary Salomone, Kenneth Wang Professor of Law, St. John’s University.  Author of Same, Different, Equal: Rethinking Single-Sex Schooling (2003).

10:30-10:45 a.m. Break

10:45-12:15 p.m. Enhancing Global Networks

Panelists will speak about current global networks of colleges and universities and will discuss possible collaborative efforts that can benefit both their own students and faculties and those of partnering institutions.

  • Kim Bottomly, President, Wellesley College
  • Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal, Vice Chancellor, Effat University (Saudi Arabia)
  • Masako Iino, President, Tsuda College (Japan)
  • Beverly Daniel Tatum, President, Spelman College

Moderator: Pat McPherson, Executive Officer, American Philosophical Society; President Emeritus, Bryn Mawr College

12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
Thomas Great Hall, Bryn Mawr College

1:45-3:15 p.m. Extending Our Reach and Closing the Gender Gap

Women’s colleges around the globe continue to model policies and practices that promote women’s achievement and expand educational opportunities to students from varied socio-economic backgrounds.  Panelists will explore strategies to leverage this success to advance equity for women at coeducational as well as single-sex institutions and to advocate for expanded access to education for underserved populations. 

  • Carol Christ, President, Smith College
  • Hoon Eng Khoo, Provost and Acting Vice Chancellor, National University of Singapore
  • Sun-Uk Kim, President, Ewha Women’s University (South Korea)
  • Sister Andrea Lee, President, St. Catherine University
  • Judith Shapiro, President Emeritus, Barnard College

Moderator: Lilian Wu, Program Executive, IBM Global University Programs; Chair, Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, Technology and Medicine, National Academies of Science.

3:30-4:30 p.m. Facilitated Discussion Groups

4:30-5:30 p.m. Transportation to Philadelphia

6:30-9:30 p.m. Reception, Dinner, Keynote Address
Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

Keynote Speaker: 
Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Saturday, September 25

9-10:30 a.m. Partnering for Global Justice

Panelists will discuss how women’s colleges can connect to international human rights and social justice organizations working to promote women’s rights and educational opportunities.   What can schools and colleges do to prepare their students for lives of engagement with the pressing issues that affect the lives of women around the world?  What can institutions do to direct their energies and agency for positive change beyond their school and college communities?

  • Maya Ajmera, Founder and President, The Global Fund for Children
  • Mary-Louise Kearney, Director of the Secretariat of the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge
  • Cheryl Gregory-Faye, Senior Education Advisor and Head of UNGEI Secretariat
  • Paula Nirschel, Initiative to Educate Afghan Women
  • Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnerships

Moderator: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, President, Bryn Mawr College

10:45-11:45 a.m.  Facilitated Discussion Groups

12-1:15 p.m.  Lunch and Discussion Group Reports
Thomas Great Hall, Bryn Mawr College

Catharine Stimpson, Professor, New York University; former Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University
1:15-2:30 p.m.  Closing Keynote Address
Introduction:  Jane Dammen McAuliffe
Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times columnist and co-author (with Sheryl WuDunn) of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide



"Education is transformative. When I came to Bryn Mawr, I wasn't thinking of teaching or working with schools. Look how much I have changed."

Tiffany Shumate, class of 2008, Office of Special Education Advocate »