Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Woman's Education” as Want to Read:
A Woman's Education
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Woman's Education

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  289 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The beloved bestselling author of The Road from Coorain and True North continues her remarkable autobiography with an account of her decade as the first woman president of Smith College–a time when she was faced with the challenge of reinventing women’s education and with the demands of her own life.
Conway took on the helm at Smith at the height of exploding culture wars a
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Vintage (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Woman's Education, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Woman's Education

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jo Young Switzer
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an intense and honest book this is!!! For me, it was the third book by Jill Ker Conway that I've read. They were all beautifully written. Conway writes in a very concentrated way -- each word in each sentence is there for an important reason. In this book, she describes being recruited and hired to serve as the first female president of the prestigious Smith College. Her descriptions of the challenges facing her matched my experiences as the first female president of Manchester University. ...more
Jean Poulos
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, e-book
I read the first two books of Jill Ker Conway’s trilogy and enjoyed each of them. This, the third book, is titled “A Woman’s Education” covers the period of her career as the first woman President of Smith College, a women’s liberal college. I feel it is important to read these books in order of publishing. The first book “The Road From Coorain” (about her childhood on a sheep/cattle ranch in Australia), “True North” (about her teaching career at University of Toronto and the launching of her ca ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After hearing Jill speak at my 25th college reunion, I was compelled to read this book by and about a woman who, unbeknownst to me, had a HUGE roll in shaping my world view. When I arrived on the Smith Campus my freshman year, Jill was completing her last year as the president.

Of course our next president and every subsequent one since would be a woman - right? Of course it made sense for me to study math, become an Air Force officer and then a strategy consultant at a leading global strategy f
Dec 06, 2009 rated it liked it
While this book is not as entertaining as Conway's first two books, I found this slim volume to be an interesting perspective on being the first woman president of a women's college (Smith) between 1975-85. Conway describes not just her experience being president but reflects on women's education in general and how it was changing in this time period--a period when I was in college. It made me reflect on women's roles not only in academia but in other careers and the different understanding that ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Smithies
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Jill Ker Conway was the president of Smith College in the 70s and 80s, so this book holds special significance to me. It was interesting to read about her experiences guiding the faculty and her spending decisions which apparently dramatically affected the traditions and opportunities available to today's Smithies. The increased alumnae donation programs, better CDO and of course the amazing athletic facilities are all a part of Conway's legacy. And while there is a great deal of introspection h ...more
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: especially to women
This book is amazing! I've read both of author:Jill Ker Conway's books and have enjoyed them all. This book is inspiring. The things she has accomplished are unbelievable. It is an interesting look into her life and her role at Smith College as the first female president (in the 60s) of an all female institution. Even if you are not in this field, it will inspire you to go out and do great things. It gets you started thinking what else should I be doing? I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Jul 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've wanted to read this book for a long time. Not only because of her wonderful writing style but also because it's set in an area I lived in for years. So it was great fun to read about locations I knew very well.

What I didn't expect was how very candid she was and what a great insight she provided of the role of a president of a small liberal arts college for women.

It made me want to read more by Ms Ker Conway.
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I read her first two memoirs and liked them very much -- especially finding out that the author had been friends with one of my favorite literature professors from college. I found this at a used book sale (thanks again to the friends of the Newport Beach Public Library). I enjoyed reading about her experiences in becoming the president of Smith College in the late 70's but overall it was not as enthralling a tale as the others. But I'm glad I read it.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this short book by an Australian woman who became the first woman President of Smith College in the US. The whole idea of a female-only college was strange and interesting, and I particularly enjoyed her take on institutional politics at such a tumultuous time in American society (and tertiary education) - 70s and 80s.
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
An absolutely engrossing memoir from a truely admirable and intellectual woman. There was lots of good food for thought about the purpose of education, both generally and specifically the value of women's colleges.
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 - Having gone to a woman's college, I agree with much of what she says. Many women do benefit from the environment, feel freer to discuss and debate.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: smithie-authors
How she got to Smith's presidency and all the years she was there. I was on campus for her last year of her tenure.
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
"doing the conventional things - marrying, beginning a career - gave me a false sense of security, as though the task of relating inner and outer self had been definitely completed. as a young married woman in my thirties, i expected that there weren't going to be too many more iterations of the quest for self-definition. but, of course, i was wrong. i wasn't quite forty when i arrived at smith and ran instantly into one of the major challenges of adulthood. that challenge is to protect and sust ...more
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Q: What to do if you're 40 years old, a VP at the University of Toronto, and passionate women's education?

A: Become the president of Smith College.

Q: What to do if you've tripled the endowment, built a new athletic facility, opened the College to older women, and stretched the mission of a very traditional liberal arts college to include educating about women, preparing female students to enter highly-paid professions, and marketing itself to prospective students -- and you're only 50 years old
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Conway's memoir covers the ten years that she served as the first woman president of Smith College, from 1975-1985. These were tumultuous years in the development of higher education curriculum as well as for women's roles in society. Conway's perceptions about college politics and feminism are insightful. I especially enjoyed her discussions about the experience of being a female leader at a women's college in the mid-70s. Her description of an event at which hundreds of young women pounded on ...more
Paula Dembeck
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This continues the author’s autobiography which she began in two books, first “The Road to Coorain” and then in “True North”.

In 1975, she moved on from a VP position at the University of Toronto to President of Smith’s College in the United States. She had a big job ahead of her juggling the needs and concerns of faculty, students, parents, trustees and alumnae. One of her major challenges was redefining life at the college and creating programs consistent with the new reality of women’s lives.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it liked it
I would have never read this book if I hadn't enjoyed the first 2 books in Jill Ker Conway's autobiography. And I probably wouldn't have read it even then if someone hadn't loaned it to me and if I was a captive audience on a very long train ride. This book is about her 10 years as the first woman President of Smith College. I had no idea being a college president required so much work! For that it was interesting. I also loved that she stretched me to think more about ideas more deeply, primari ...more
Aug 26, 2009 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as its two predecessors. It felt that she had to walk a very careful tightrope between describing her experiences at Smith honestly, and not potentially offending any faculty still at the college. Also the difficulties with her husband's health could not have been easy to write about either. She remains an inspirational figure and I was very fortunate to have met her while I was at Smith after she retired.
Jan 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Her university political life, mostly otr all in the United States--can't remember, read it in 2009.
Nothing matches Road from Cohrain for me--I loved that memoir. I suppose I'm less interested in women's politics in education now that I'm out of that field and my energies are elsewhere. Her writing about her relationships remains compelling for me, however. At least, I think she wrote a lot about them in this Memoir, too? (Monday morning no-coffee brain-drain...)
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed her book The Road from Coorain. I wanted to read more about her life after she left Australia. This book deals with her life as the first woman president of Smith College. It was not as interesting as the first book.
Pat Tucker
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed Conway's memoirs. This third one covered 1975-1985, her years as the first female president of Smith College. She is an articulate thinker. Some of the details she writes about were more than I cared to know but I still found the book interesting.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ker Conway's early life was fascinating. This part of it, as president of Smith College, was less so, but I found the history of the woman's college - especially during the turbulent 1960s/1970s - worth reading.
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
This wasn't what I was expecting. I wanted more of the classes she was involved in. I didn't finish this book, rare for me.
She talked about being a Vice President of The Toronto Univercity and her change to President of Smith College mostly in a negative way.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite book. Too women's lib-ish and too humanistic. It is a good book informationally about Jill's life,
particularly her presidency of Smith College from 1975-1985. I just do not care for the things she stands for.
Feb 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: All women
Recommended to Kate by: Edna Epleu
Great memoir
Clayton Brannon
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read what Jill has to say. Short very well written insightful book.
Elizabeth Lund
Enjoyable older autobiography of a mind and a career
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Liked this much less than Road from Coorain and True North.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jaime
Excellent documentation of an academic life during a turning point in higher education. This book made me so proud of Smith, my alma mater. Jill Ker Conway is me new feminist hero.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving from a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse
  • Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer
  • Hide and Seek: Out of the Darkness and Into My Life
  • Give Me the World
  • Love among the Butterflies: The Travels and Adventures of a Victorian Lady
  • Don't Forget to Write
  • Lost & Found in Egypt: A Most Unlikely Journey Through the Shifting Sands of Love and Loss
  • Diamond: The History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair
  • The Morville Hours
  • Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the "King and I" Governess
  • Be a Critical Thinker: Hone Your Mind to Think Critically
  • The Virgin of Bennington
  • Music On The Move Out West
  • 5 S.T.E.P.S. to Being Your Own Patient Advocate
  • The Magic of Pineapples: A Brain Tingling Journey Through Amazing Mathematics
  • Ghosting: A Double Life
  • A Thatched Roof (Beverley Nichols's Allways Trilogy)
  • Flyover Lives: A Memoir
Jill Ker Conway, AC (born 9 October 1934) is an Australian-American author. Well known for her autobiographies, in particular her first memoir, The Road from Coorain. She was also Smith College's first woman president, from 1975–1985, and now serves as a Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2004 she was designated a Women's History Month Honoree by the National Women ...more
More about Jill Ker Conway

Nonfiction Deals

  • Rumi: The Big Red Book: The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love and Friendship
    $10.74 $1.99
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich
    $13.95 $1.99
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
    $11.74 $2.99
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'm Just a Person
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Professor & the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity & the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
    $9.74 $2.99
  • The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Public Library: A Photographic Essay
    $27.99 $4.99
  • The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Murphy's Boy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Heart of Meditation: Discovering Innermost Awareness
    $12.99 $1.99
  • My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir
    $9.49 $1.99
  • The Essential Rumi
    $10.24 $1.99
  • Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
    $10.74 $2.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece
    $8.24 $1.99
  • How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays (A Harvest Book)
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
    $6.99 $2.99
  • No Limits: Blow the CAP Off Your Capacity
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Silent Spring
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships
    $10.49 $2.99
  • Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Castles of Steel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life
    $9.74 $1.99
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
    $3.99 $1.99