In 1964, when Drew Faust entered Bryn Mawr, she was not allowed to wear pants to class or dinner, and strict curfews kept her in her dorm room most nights, a constant reminder that she, like all her women peers, "should be bearers of virtue."
"The more than 40 years since I have graduated from college represents a cultural eternity," Faust said on Friday afternoon as she stood at the podium after receiving the 2014 Radcliffe Medal from Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study dean Lizabeth Cohen. "The past century has brought extraordinary progress for American women, and Radcliffe has both represented and propelled that change. Had I said when I was 10 years old that I would be the president of Harvard, people would have said that I was deranged."
Faust spoke to a packed audience of scholars, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered under a tent in Radcliffe Yard to celebrate Radcliffe Day 2014. She focused on the history and future of women's rights in the United States and globally, stating that it is critical to remember those who knocked down significant barriers in order to make our current world possible. Women's rights have come a long way since her birth in 1947, Faust said, but she worries that there is now a sense of complacency in our society about the place of women—a complacency that "too easily forgets that things were once otherwise."
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