THE COURAGE TO ACHIEVE by Betty A. Walker

THE COURAGE TO ACHIEVE

Why America's Brightest Women Struggle to Fulfill Their Promise
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An exhaustive study of graduates of eight decades (1910-90) of Hunter College High School (N.Y.C.) classes, attempting to shed light on why intelligent women are still not well represented at the top. Perplexed by women's absence from powerful positions, Walker (Counseling Psychology/USC), herself a Hunter alumnus, and Mehr (Walker's research assistant) sent questionnaires to over 1,250 Hunter graduates. Forty women were then selected for extensive interviews; the career-paths of 15 of them are mapped in detail here. Hunter--a highly selective school--was chosen because, the authors reasoned, if it could be determined why women with proven intelligence were not reaching their potential, the findings could then be related to all women. Walker and Mehr found that most of the female graduates either followed a ``safe'' path foisted upon them or ``fell into'' a career. Many pre-1960's graduates became teachers and/or homemakers, and while the younger women often pursued traditionally ``male'' careers, they also often felt pushed into their jobs by the women's movement. Nearly all failed to deliberately choose their occupations. The authors stress the need for what they call ``Active Engagement,'' whereby women take risks, draw upon their inner resources, and assume full responsibility for their lives. Another finding was the lack of counseling that Hunter students received, counseling that the authors believe is the key to helping young women pinpoint and develop their talents. Well-trodden ground--though enlivened by crisp prose and intriguing life histories.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-73642-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1992