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#1390: Leadership In Catholic Higher Ed

Sister Mary Reap
Elms College

On this week’s 51%, we hear about the state of women presidents at Catholic colleges. And we learn about the largest Jewish Women's organization operating in the countries of the former Soviet Union. I’m Allison Dunne and this is 51%.

Until the late 20th century, a women's Catholic college president was more likely to lead a college in wimple and veil than suit and tie. But as women have risen to the top job at more colleges overall, they’ve lost ground in Catholic higher education, their ranks dwindling as colleges went coed and lay leaders replaced nuns. In a church recently roiled by conflict over gender, some are worried that a bastion of female leadership is endangered. The number of women in the presidency at Catholic colleges is now at an all-time low. Sister Mary Reap, president of Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts, is the exception to this trend. And she spoke with 51%’s Patrick Garrett. 

We bring you another installment of the 51% segment called “Force of Nature,” from Dr. Sharon Ufberg. She is co-founder of the personal development/wellness company, Borrowed Wisdom, in Napa Valley, California. She regularly blogs for The Huffington Post. This week, she interviews Karyn Gershon, executive director of Project Kesher, a network of Jewish women's organizations and interfaith women's coalitions operating in more than 200 communities in Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine and more recently, Israel. Project Kesher promotes Jewish identity building, as well as social activism on issues including, computer and economic literacy, tolerance, domestic violence, trafficking and women's health issues. Project Kesher has trained more than 3,500 women leaders in their region who conduct more than 4,500 programs each year to promote gender equality and create more peaceful societies. Ufberg asks Gershon, who is based in New York City, to share more about the network.

Force of Nature is recorded at the InnerVoice Network. For more information on Project Kesher, visit http://www.projectkesher.org

Wisconsin-based retailer Lands' End is apologizing to customers for featuring feminist Gloria Steinem in its spring catalog and has removed her from its website. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the company has removed a feature on Steinem from its website after customers complained about her support for abortion rights. It issued an apology to customers who were offended. Steinem had been interviewed by company CEO FedericaMarchionni for the Lands' End "Legend Series." The company says in a statement that its goal was to feature people who have made a difference, and not to take a political or religious stance.  

Photo of Elena Kulevnich leading a tolerance initiative in Minsk, Belarus for a teen youth group
Credit Joan Roth

And that's our show this week. Thanks to Patrick Garrett for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio.

©2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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