The Freakonomics Radio episode is the interview with the Harvard President Drew Gilpin FaustT. It is about her background information on her childhood memories, experience in studying at female educational institutions, experience as the scholar and the President of Harvard University and more interestingly, about her worldview based on life experience. Also the interviewer and the President Faust discussed the endowment per student in Harvard and its distribution that could be intriguing for the audience.
Commencement at Harvard University; women wearing silk-screened feminist fist symbols. Photo credit: Harvard Libraries’ Research guides – Harvard University
The creators tried to inform the audience about the first woman Harvard President’s life, however they made links with the given information and persuaded to donate into Freakonomics Radio. One of the creators of the Freakonomics radio Stephen J. Dubner asked the interviewee many open-ended questions that revealed her to tell the life story. It seems to me that the interviewer had assumptions about President Faust’s feminist viewpoint, since he asked several questions about the effect of the all-female educational institutions. The next provocative moment of the interview is when Dubner found and read Faust’s letter when she was nine and said “You plainly had a very pronounced sense of segregation, be it male/female, black/white and so on”. However, Professor Faust spoke about hierarchical interaction with African-Americans and their influence on her, which triggered her to write about the Civil War. Aiming to continue the topic of feminism Dubner interested about the value of single-sex education and was satisfied to hear that this experience was quite critical for the President Faust. She found herself in life, observing different roles of women in the educational environment and could realize herself as a scholar.
As the listener I was influenced by the wordplay between the interlocutors. Their very professional and competent talk was concise and to the point. The interviewer’s purpose to get the story was achieved and the interviewee shared sincerely full information about her life. Although Dubner couldn’t realize Faust’s feministic attitude he could identify her self-analysis moments. I like the way how she thought about the token female appointment, saying that she was not a woman President of Harvard, but the President of Harvard and analyzed that her role sends a message and hope for other girls and women.
It’s a pity that there are people who divide the world into two parts (woman and men). The sense of discrimination when one can not do something what others do make me feel upset. Concerning my life, of course I also felt limitations of being a woman, especially in Kazakhstan. Parents in Kazakhstan treat girls differently comparing with boys, they say it’s a shame for girl to talk aloud, to fight and to argue. Later these women with the bouquet of complexes and understatements become insecure women who must raise self-confident children. What is it? The irony of life? It is unfair that women should earn the position when men are already counted. However, the situation is changing in positive way that women recognized as the human potential and play great role in the global arena. It is not the World of Men or Women anymore, it is the World of intelligent, diligent, creative people.
Overall, I would recommend my friends to listen this podcast and get the insightful inspirations. I hope that nobody will ask a question “Who runs the World?” in the future.