Keep the Damned Women Out: Nancy Weiss Malkiel on Coeducation

November 17, 2016

On Thursday, November 17th, Princeton historian Nancy Weiss Malkiel delivered a book talk and held a book signing for her new book “Keep the Damned Women Out” The Struggle for Coeducation. Reminding us that transformative change is a complex and strategic endeavor, Malkiel explains that the decision to go coed was driven not by moral imperative or a concern for equality, but by a self-interested concern for maintaining a first-rate applicant pool. Ivy league institutions influenced one another, for instance when Yale decided to go co-ed, Princeton rushed to do the same. Malkiel described conditions of harassment and sexism often faced by women as the first female undergraduates in historically men’s colleges. Sadly,  the very recent reports of sexism on the Harvard men’s soccer team illustrates that this problem continues.  As Yale Professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Inderpal Grewal remarked in her introductory comments, “Keep the Damned Women Out” has particular resonance today as women continue the fight for equality and equal access.