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Times Have Changed, but the Fight for Equality Continues

By Becky Roloff, President and Chief Executive Officer
April 17, 2013
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Last week, I participated in a celebration event that honored the first women who graduated from the full MBA program at Harvard Business School in 1962. I must say it was sobering to be part of a group that was often referred to by other keynote speakers as “historical.” I graduated in 1982 and our contribution to the story of the 50-year history was that a woman in our class led the fight to remove the urinals from the women’s bathrooms in 1981.

What struck me, and is the link to the mission of the YWCA, is that the fight for equality never stops. While not all the issues today are the same as 1962 (for example, women were not allowed to live on the campus), they are just as real. Today, women enter with equal academic credentials, but do not receive similar proportion of graduating honors.

As I sat in the audience of 800 and reflected on the past 31 years since I graduated, I could answer with complete confidence that I thought I was using my education well. While leadership of nonprofits was not considered a legitimate use of one’s education when I was there, it is now.

I’d like to thank everyone involved for giving me the honor of being able to use an education that I know was a privilege to receive.