A few weeks ago, I attended the Women and Leadership conference on campus that featured a conversation between President Shirley Tilghman and Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and I participated in the breakout session afterward that allowed current undergraduate women to speak informally with older and presumably wiser alumnae.I attended the event with my best friend since our freshman year in 1973.
As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market.
Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are.
My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless.
Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated.
And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out — here’s what you really need to know that nobody is telling you.
For years (decades, really) we have been bombarded with advice on professional advancement, breaking through that glass ceiling and achieving work-life balance. If anyone can overcome professional obstacles, it will be our brilliant, resourceful, very well-educated selves.
You girls glazed over at preliminary comments about our professional accomplishments and the importance of networking. When I was an undergraduate in the mid-seventies, the 200 pioneer women in my class would talk about navigating the virile plains of Princeton as a precursor to professional success.
Then the conversation shifted in tone and interest level when one of you asked how have Kendall and I sustained a friendship for 40 years. You asked about the value of our friendship, about our husbands and children. At your core, you know that there are other things that you need that nobody is addressing. Never being one to shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion, I said that I wanted to get married and have children. For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.