By Myra Strober
Sometimes it is only with hindsight that one understands the benefits that come from taking an entrepreneurial risk. In 1974, Myra Strober helped to establish the center for research on women at Stanford, one of the first to be established in the US. These excerpts from Myra Strober’s new memoir, published last month by MIT Press, show her reluctance to take on such a risk, the price she paid, and the joys she ultimately experienced.
A few weeks before I start teaching at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in the Fall of 1972, I get a call from Stanford’s Office of Public Affairs. They would like me to participate in a press conference in San Francisco with two other new women assistant professors at the university – Barbara Babcock, the first woman ever to hold a faculty position at the Law School, and Lili Young, a new faculty member in the School of Engineering. I am the first woman ever to hold a faculty position in the Business School.
“We want to show off our women,” my caller says, “show the whole world that Stanford has done the right thing.”
I ask Barbara what she thinks we should wear to this press briefing.
“We can wear whatever we want,” she says. “We are the dress code.”
She’s right. A study the year before found that women make up only 5 percent of all tenure-track faculty at Stanford, and 2 percent of all full professors. Of almost a thousand tenure-track faculty, only forty-seven are women and only nine are women full professors.
As a result of Stanford’s press conference for new women faculty, there are articles about me in both the Stanford Daily and the Palo Alto Times. Not only does the GSB have women faculty members for the first time, they say, but imagine this: there’s an economist there doing research on women!