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By Barbara J. Bank, Harriet M. Yelon

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Sample text

Of the 287 students who answered our question about sorority membership in spring of 1991, about half (n = 145) said they were sorority Traditionalism and Emancipation: Sororities at CWC 39 members and about half said they were not (n = 142). As expected, sorority members scored significantly higher than independents on the Propriety Norms scale, but there were no significant differences between the two groups on the measures of Gender Equality Norms, Traditional Family Norms, and Self-Oriented Norms.

Another possible reason for the higher Achievement Values of sorority women may lie in the multifaceted nature of our measure of these values. Normally, when one hears that a group of women value achievement, one thinks of them as oriented in favor of nontraditional goals. It was this interpretation that led me to the questionable assumption that higher scores on our Achievement Values scale would indicate a more emancipatory, less traditional orientation. I now see this assumption as questionable for three reasons.

Our findings also support the conclusion that the administration, faculty, and students of CWC were neither a vanguard of gender emancipation nor a rearguard of gender traditionalism. Although their norms and values clearly and consensually supported gender egalitarianism and personal autonomy, they were only moderate advocates for self-orientation among women and for personal achievements. Although students and faculty tended to reject the position that women should subordinate their 28 Contradictions in Women’s Education interests to those of husbands and children, this rejection was only mild, and most of them assigned a moderately high value to marriage and loving children in their own personal lives.

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