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Ruth Simmons

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Dr. Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University

Ruth Simmons is currently the president of Brown University. Previously, she held administrative positions at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming the president of Smith College, the largest women's college in the United States. As the president of a college, she has a unique perspective on what young women are looking for. She answers the question What do young women want?

Young women want to know that they can live a life free of harassment, free of artificial barriers and stigmas. They want to live a life with the full freedom to choose what they wish to be and how the want to live. It’s all about choice. And it’s also about the choice not to achieve if they don’t want to achieve. If in fact they want to live a life that is quiet and committed to family and children, they want to know that is acceptable. The struggle that women underwent in the 70s to gain their freedom was really a struggle to give women the choice over what they could accomplish and how to live their lives.

Young women would like to have the option of achieving real success, but they also want the option of having a very satisfying personal life. If they choose one or the other, they want to be able to choose it without being stigmatized.

Ruth Simmons is a member of the Advisory Committee of The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything.

Dr. Simmons spoke about What Happens When Women Run Things at The Women’s Conference 2009.

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