Gloria Steinem to headline coeducation symposium

Trailblazer for gender equality will be featured during two-day virtual event April 23-24.

April 20, 2021

Photo: Jenny Warburg

As part of Exeter’s yearlong recognition of 50 years of coeducation, the Academy will host a virtual symposium this weekend featuring trailblazing feminist Gloria Steinem.

“From ‘Studying Her Absence’ to Finding Her Voice: 50 Years of Coeducation at Exeter” is planned for April 23-24 and will include a panel discussion and breakout sessions along with a conversation with the renowned journalist and political and social activist. The two-day event will be framed around the question, “What does it mean to create an equitable environment for women and girls, instead of just allowing women and girls to join a school community?”

The conversation with Steinem will be joined by Ciatta Baysah ’97, Meredith Hitchcock ’06, and Hannah Lim, instructor in History at the Academy. Sarah Odell ’06 will deliver the introduction and remarks.

Principal Bill Rawson ’71; P’08 called the symposium “a special opportunity for our community to engage in dialogue about issues of equity for girls and women today. … Access to this kind of scholarship and to the quality of dialogue that will occur is an exceptional opportunity for all of us.”

Symposium schedule

Members of the Exeter community are invited to register.

Friday, April 23, 7-8:30 p.m. ET

An Evening in Conversation with Gloria Steinem – Traversing Feminism, Race and Sexuality in 2021. Introduction and welcome from Sarah Odell ’06. Conversation moderated by Meredith Hitchcock ’06, Ciatta Baysah ’97 and Hannah Lim, instructor in History. Register here.

Saturday, April 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET

Making Her Present: Current Scholars on the State of Feminism in Education and Society. Panel presentation with Charol Shakeshaft, Keisha Lindsay, Naomi Snider and Jennie Weiner. Breakout sessions to follow. Register here.


In her more than 60 years of activism, Steinem has dedicated her life to gender equality. Steinem has authored books, founded magazines and won numerous awards for written and documentary video work. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

This won’t be the first time Steinem has addressed an Exeter audience. Four decades ago, she headlined a two-day conference at the Academy on women educators at independent schools. The event in June 1984 also included leading women’s rights voices such as Carol Gilligan, Estelle Ramey, Natasha Josefowitz, Pauli Murray and Eleanor Holmes Norton.

In the weeks preceding the symposium, Exeter hosted a series of readings and discussions place with scholars and experts in the fields of gender studies and education.

Featured readings

Sunday, Feb. 7, 4-5:30 p.m. ET

‘It’s On Us:’ Prevention of Sexual Assault in K-12 Schools, with Charol Shakeshaft, associate professor of education administration, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sunday, Feb. 21, 4-5:30 p.m. ET

God, Gays and Progressive Politics, with Keisha Lindsay, professor of gender and women’s studies and political science, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sunday, March 7, 4-5:30 p.m. ET

Why Does Patriarchy Persist?, with Naomi Snider, writer and psychoanalyst.

Sunday, March 21, 4-5:30 p.m. ET

The Double Bind for Women, with Jennie Weiner, professor of educational leadership, University of Connecticut.

Sunday, April 4, 4-5:30 p.m. ET

Discussion of Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road, moderated by Sarah Odell ’06.

The reading series and symposium are part of the Academy’s yearlong commemoration of a half-century of coeducation at the school. To learn more, visit our website dedicated to coeducation at Exeter.

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