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The Women's Narrative Project

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News & Resources

WNP in the News

The New York Times Magazine, letter to the editor by Jessica Bacal, Director of the Wurtele Center for Work & Life. January 18, 2009.

STRIDE Student Research

Thealexa Becker '13 read Smith College commencement speeches from 1945 to the present and wrote about how they reflected an evolution of cultural expectations of women. Her paper, "The Journey from Housewife to Having It All: A History of Smith Commencement Speeches," is part of a 2010-2011 STRIDE student research grant in conjunction with Dean of the College Maureen A. Mahoney and the Wurtele Center for Work & Life.

Smith College Resources

Alumnae Association of Smith College

The Alummae Association of Smith College lists volunteer, travel and learning opportunities for Smith alumnae, including on-campus programs examining life choices and success.

Women and Financial Independence

This Smith program provides undergraduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to address financial matters that may arise in their personal, professional, family and community lives.

Smith College Poetry Center

The Poetry Center connects the work of the classroom with the world of living poets.

Project Background

At the Chautauqua Institution in 2004, President Carol Christ argued that both the circumstances and the narratives of women's professional lives need to be transformed. Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien '57 read the speech and decided that she wanted to fund a program that would allow Smith women to reflect on their work and life narratives. The Women's Narratives Project was born.

President Carol T. Christ: "Inside the Clockwork of Women's Careers," a Speech to the Chautauqua Institution, July 21, 2004

Listen to President Christ's speech, "Inside the Clockwork of Women's Careers"

In this speech, Maureen Mahoney, dean of the college and director of the project explains that the Women's Narratives Project would provide women with "structured opportunities to think through the dimensions of success and balance in life."

Dean Maureen Mahoney: "Dimensions of Balance in Women's Lives," a Speech to the International Conference of Women, Business and Society Madrid, Spain, April 3, 2006

                                                                                      

In this speech, Jennifer Walters, dean of religious life and co-director of the project, explains that the Women's Narratives Project is "inviting undergraduate students to ask themselves not only what kind of job or career do I want, but what kind of life? Furthermore, we want to challenge them to think systemically. How can we change our workplaces and institutions to make the kind of life we want possible?"

Dean Jennifer Walters: "Rethinking Work Life Balance and Preparing Students to Effect Change in the Workplace," a Speech to Women's College Career Development Professionals, Barnard College, New York City, May 29, 2007 (DOC)

The Women's Narratives Project began with a grant from the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, which is co-chaired by Philippe and Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien '57.