The Eternal Debate

by Mary Shipp Bartlett

Just when you think a subject has been talked into oblivion—it picks up new life. That’s what continues to happen with the decades-old debate about career and motherhood. Can we have it all? Do we even want it all? And, can waiting too long mean we miss the boat?

Each generation of women examines these questions in light of its particular experiences and opportunities. Educated in the 50s and 60s, few members of my generation questioned the supremacy of motherhood above all other careers. Now, it would be a rare Scripps student who plans to postpone her career for a significant number of years in favor of having and raising children. What seemed right for one generation seems out-of-step for another. Yet, questions and anxiety about this subject continue.

I expect that Scripps women will continue to talk about, debate, and anguish over the questions of career and motherhood as long as educated women give birth to babies. In this issue, Alumnae Speak, starting on page 19, continues to feature fascinating stories from several generations of Scripps alumnae who have made decisions about this most personal of topics. Thanks to all of you who have bravely shared your experiences. I invite the rest of you to join the discussion, either by essay or by letter. The Bulletin will print your submissions as long as interest continues.