Hillary Clinton is going to Yale this spring; Anita Hill has chosen Wesleyan; Sheryl Sandberg is off to MIT; Ava Duvernay is going to Cornell; and noted human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is headed to Vanderbilt.
No, they’re not all involved in a much-needed reboot of Back to School. They’re speaking at the schools’ commencement ceremonies, part of a wave of women speakers who will be taking the campus microphone this year. For the first time in at least two decades, the majority of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as graduation speakers.
According to the AP, women will deliver nearly 60% of the commencement addresses at 25 of the biggest and richest schools this year. By comparison, women made up just a quarter of the speakers at those schools in the past two decades.
The AP ascribes this to the #MeToo movement, which is probably right. There are undoubtedly more than a few risk-adverse deans out there who figure it’s safer to book a powerhouse woman than to worry that you invited the next Charlie Rose, Woody Allen, Junot Diaz, Eliot Spitzer, James Franco, Jeffrey Tambor, Kevin Spacey, or Bill Cosby to speak at your school.