“Help Wanted – Female”: Hollins Alumna’s New York Times Op-Ed Reflects on Pivotal Point in the Women’s Movement

Turning to the classified ads section of the nation’s top daily newspaper to find job openings under the headings “Help Wanted – Male” and “Help Wanted – Female” would be jarring to us today. But, The New York Times actually listed career opportunities in this manner until just 50 years ago this week, when the 1964 Civil Rights Act and growing public backlash convinced the paper to simply use the term “Help Wanted.”

Wyndham Robertson ’58 puts the spotlight on this little-remembered but nevertheless significant milestone in her op-ed piece, “The Long Shadow of ‘Help Wanted – Female,’” which on November 29 was fittingly published by the Times.

Robertson, who went on to enjoy a distinguished career as an editor and writer at Fortune magazine after graduating from Hollins, recalls believing that bringing a new sensibility to classified job ads would help women rise above the low-paying, so-called “Gal Friday” positions that dominated the “Help Wanted – Female” section.

“Before classified ads went unisex, women had no established path to high-level jobs,” she writes. “At the time I thought this would be a game changer for women, and of course, it was – to a point.”

She notes that “change came very slowly” over the years. While at Fortune in the late 1970s, she looked at more than a thousand of the nation’s largest corporations to find women who were among each company’s three highest-paid employees; she discovered just ten.

Yet, Robertson remained optimistic. “I took the upbeat and not uncommon position that once more women were ‘in the pipeline’…executive suites would be teeming with women.”

Thus, Robertson is mystified that in 2018, “life at the top of large American corporations still seems so overwhelmingly male,” with women representing only five percent of all CEOs on the Fortune 500. “There must be a reason for this weak showing,” she concludes, “but access to the pipeline, we can now safely say, isn’t it.”

“Wyndham’s thoughtful essay underscores that our commitment to developing women who build lives of consequence has never been more essential,” says Hollins President Pareena Lawrence. “As an institution with undergraduate programs for women, our work is cut out for us. We must continue to prepare women to lead in all sectors of society with renewed urgency.  Our innovative emphasis on leadership, life skills, and professional development along with new investments in business and entrepreneurship will give our students the foundation to fulfill the promise inherent in those unisex classified ads five decades ago.”

Alexandra Trower ’86, chair of the Hollins Board of Trustees and vice president, global communications at The Estée Lauder Companies, adds that Robertson’s op-ed is “a timely and important reminder that there are a great many glass ceilings left to be shattered. Hollins is uniquely positioned to empower its students to confront and overcome those barriers in the years to come.”

Photo: Wyndham Robertson ’58 at Fortune magazine, 1974. Credit: Barbara J. Little


In Chronicle Essay, Hollins Dean Asserts Teacher-Scholars’ Crucial Role

In his commentary published August 7 in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “How Teacher-Scholars Prepare Students for an Evolving World,” Associate Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Academic Services Michael Gettings argues, “As faculty, our research informs our teaching and benefits our students. One is not a teacher and a scholar, one is a teacher-scholar. Through scholarship, teachers model good learning and offer special opportunities for students. The benefits of this model for both teacher and student are maximized in the liberal-arts setting where students can build strong relationships with faculty.”

Gettings goes on to state that teacher-scholars help students develop the skills identified by developmental psychologists Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek as essential for the workplace of the future (“the six C’s”): collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creativity, and confidence.


Virginia Business Magazine: Celebrating Women’s Education, Hollins University Blends Liberal Arts and Job Preparation

President Nancy Gray and Board of Trustees Chair Judy Lambeth ’73 discuss Hollins’ 175th anniversary and how the university is ready fiscally and academically to meet the present and future challenges in higher learning in this profile from the February 2017 issue of Virginia Business magazine.

(Correction: The article states that Lambeth led the search for a new president. In fact, the presidential search committee was chaired by Linda Lorimer ’74 and Lambeth served on the committee.)

 

Stay up-to-date on Hollins news and events…sign up here to receive the Hollins News email newsletter.


NPR’s Fresh Air: Beth Macy M.A. ’93 Discusses “Truevine”

Fresh Air, one of public radio’s most popular programs, welcomed journalist and bestselling author Beth Macy M.A. ’93 as the show’s featured guest on October 18.

Macy talked with host Terry Gross about her new book, Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South.

Audio and a transcript of the interview are available here.


Roanoke Times: Hollins Graduate Joins Mission to ‘South Pacific’

Mezzo soprano Helena Brown graduated from Hollins in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music. Now, she’s returning to the area to perform in Opera Roanoke‘s production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. The Roanoke Times’ Mike Allen talks with Brown about her musical career and how studying at Hollins “was one of the best decisions I made in the course of my life….”


WSLS-TV Names Hollins Professor Ed Lynch Political Analyst

Hollins Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch is often tasked with explaining what the politicians are up to in an election year more confusing than most. Now, WSLS-TV 10, the NBC affiliate for Roanoke and southwestern Virginia, has assigned Lynch the job of official political analyst for its news broadcasts.

Lynch is no stranger to media events. Since his time on Capitol Hill in the 1980s, he has done thousands of interviews on television and radio and for the print media. Since moving to Roanoke, Lynch has become an invaluable source to area journalists, combining his real-life experience in the world of politics with his academic background, coupled with an unusually strong ability to explain complex matters in short sound bites.

Earlier this year, conversations with WSLS News Director Rick Moll and anchor John Carlin led to an arrangement in which Lynch provides political analysis exclusively for the station. He has provided commentary on the primary season, the many debates among the candidates, and the political conventions this summer. Along the way, he has seen the unexpected rise of Donald Trump, the surprisingly persistent campaign of Bernie Sanders, and the embrace of political activism by millions of new voters.

Moll gives Lynch high marks for his clarity and even-handedness. Viewers of WSLS have also reacted positively.

“The political process can be confusing for many, especially during a Presidential cycle like we have right now,” Moll said. “It’s our job in the media to break down the issues. We need to make sense of what’s happening and more importantly, how these issues impact our viewers. That’s where Ed Lynch comes in. We want to utilize his experience and background to take a hard look at local politics as well as what’s happening on the national scene. He has the ability to simplify the key issues and get to the root of what’s being discussed. We’re extremely happy to have him on our team.”

The repeated exposure on Roanoke television has made Lynch one of the most recognizable figures in the Roanoke Valley, and one of the most prominent public “faces” of Hollins University. Lynch said that he is often stopped by complete strangers, who compliment his analysis and ask questions. “I appreciate being asked my opinion,” Lynch said, “I just wish I had nicer things to say about the current campaign!”

This fall, Lynch will bring his expertise to the First Year Seminar program, teaching a class called “How to Be a President.” He rejects the notion that the shrill tone and personal attacks of the 2016 campaign are in any way unique or extreme. “Negative campaigning, including vicious personal attacks, goes back to the rivalry between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson,” he said, “and those were the first contested elections in American history.”

He added, “I feel the pain of those students dismayed at having to cast their first vote for president during a year when both candidates have such high negatives. My first time, I had to choose between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter!”

With the Virginia gubernatorial race set to kick off the moment the presidential race is decided, Lynch does not believe that his relationship with WSLS will end any time soon.


Vanity Fair: “Hollins Can Offer a Worldly Experience that Many Larger Institutions Can’t”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the May 2016 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, author Lisa Birnbach profiles nine women’s colleges, including Hollins University. She strongly makes the case that women’s colleges remain relevant: “The richness and intimacy of these students’ experiences are enviable and inspiring. As a college-guidebook writer and a mother of college students, I have not heard so many students talk about appreciating their educations.”

Birnbach notes that Hollins’ “secret sauce is the intensely involved alumnae, who return to campus whenever they’re invited as mentors, and who provide internship opportunities to the students. It’s an irresistible combination….Students have interned at major law firms in Washington and New York, Estée Lauder, the Republican National Committee, the Stonewall Community Foundation, the Library of Congress, PBS, and the National Dance Institute.”


Hollins’ “Love Not Hate” Event Garners Extensive Media Coverage

On Monday, March 28, members of the Hollins community gathered on Front Quad to support one another and promote love, beauty, and inclusivity.

Local media outlets came out to campus to cover the university’s “Love Not Hate” event, which was organized in response to the defacement of The Rock, a campus landmark.

Here are links to coverage from The Roanoke Times, WSLS 10, and WFXR 21/27.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/roanoke_county/hollins-students-emphasize-love-over-hate-after-swastika-found-on/article_63adcd72-4942-5edc-9ecb-04e8f813e7eb.html

http://wsls.com/2016/03/28/hollins-students-sending-powerful-message-after-swastika-found-on-campus/

http://www.virginiafirst.com/news/local-news/hollins-university-students-combat-hateful-message-with-love