In Depth

Perspectives on Coeducation

Betsy Goodtrad ’74, the first female editor on the board of The Phillipian, said that she did not face any gender discrimination on the board. “Everybody was very accommodating to the situation when it was a kind of an anomaly to have me in the newsroom. They definitely were interested in integrating females in that regard. Everybody that I worked with was very open to anybody who would contribute. So being a female was not so much a big deal, but more a big deal in that I was the first,” Goodtrad said. Goodtrad did not notice fellow board members’ perceptions of her because of her gender. “At that age, I didn’t think of it. I just did what I wanted to do …I understand that now that I’m older and society is wiser, and that’s why [current students] understand that. However, at the time for me, it was just what I wanted to do,” she said. Eight female students have been Editors in Chief of The Phillipian A notable discrepancy in club leadership after the merger was the male to female ratio in student government. In the first ten years after Andover became coeducational, only nine girls were elected as cluster presidents, compared to 57 boys. On occasion, female candidates for positions in student government faced opposition during their campaigns. Jackie Bliss ’98, Phillips Academy’s second female president, said, “I remember overhearing conversations about people who would never vote for a girl, no matter what. That was just 10 years ago. I felt like when I was president, I was struggling with very difficult issues…But gender was still an issue, and that was distressing to me.” Carolyn Brown ’09, a candidate for school president last year, said, “I started running and didn’t really think about being a female at all…I don’t really think that it impacted me that much.” She continued, “I don’t think that PA students would vote based on gender by any means. But I do think that once it got to the point when I was the only girl candidate, it did start to become a major part.” The end result of the voting depended on the most qualified candidate, said Bliss. She said, “There were times when I felt like my gender was going to affect my ability to win, but in the end, people really made a decision based on who they thought would be the best for the job.” “I would like to think that people saw me more as a candidate than as the girl candidate, and I’d like to think that I changed that a little bit,” said Brown. “I think that when a girl is the best candidate, Andover will vote for her. I don’t think that Andover is picking people because they are boys, although you do start to notice that you’re the only girl… Yes, it’s there, but they’re still voting based on the candidates.” “Andover always progresses, but just this one position [of school president] does not,” said Bliss. “The entire student body has to come together to vote for the president for the school, and there are talented women in the school.” “I think the one area that Andover still needs some work on is Student Council. Having been on Student Council for two years, I was one of the few girls in that room every time that we met. There were only about three or four of us each year out of 12, 13 [or] 14. It was definitely noticeable,” said Brown.