A frequent theme that runs through TCPW programs is the question, Can you have it all? “A lot of women in our group were women in the ’70s who had given up family life to have a career,” says Judith Roth Berkowitz CW’64, another TCPW founder who succeeded Einiger as chair of the fledgling organization—and joined her in a 20th anniversary serenade to Al Shoemaker at the group’s spring conference in April (see sidebar). “I wouldn’t say they felt they had made the wrong choice, but I think they felt they had not really thought through what they should do. So we wanted to give our women who were very bright and preparing for great careers an understanding that they do have choices … and to not be disappointed if it didn’t all happen at the same time.”

“It’s a real sign of progress that we’ve moved beyond the question of whether women can do the work to the question of how they can combine a successful career with a fulfilling personal life,” Einiger adds.

In addition to helping women prepare for life after Penn, TCPW has enhanced campus life with grants that sponsor visits from prominent women scholars, help student organizations such as Women in Computer Science, and support programs like the Rape Aggression Defense Course offered by Penn’s Division of Public Safety. Women’s athletics has also gotten a boost from TCPW, which selects a team to “adopt” each school year and hosts tailgates and dinners for traveling athletes. Associate Athletic Director Mary DiStanislao believes that TCPW’s support of Penn women’s sports has been mutually beneficial. “It allows some of the alumnae to get involved with a team anew,” she says. “And I think for some who didn’t have the opportunity or participate [in sports] while they were here, they’re getting a taste of it.”  At the same time, “for the teams it’s exciting because they’re mining a whole new vein of supporters,” she adds.

July|Aug 08 Contents
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What Women Wanted, by Susan Frith
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Last modified 06/29/08