Global Voices Author Night with Debora Spar

Lecture Series

October 21, 2013


Assembly Hall

Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act, why are women still living in a man’s world?

Debora L. Spar never thought of herself as a feminist. Raised after the tumult of the 1960s, she presumed the gender war was over. As one of the youngest female professors to be tenured at Harvard Business School and a mother of three, she swore to young women that they could have it all. “We thought we could just glide into the new era of equality, with babies, board seats, and husbands in tow,” she writes. “We were wrong.”

In this groundbreaking and compulsively readable book, Spar explores how American women’s lives have—and have not—changed over the past fifty years. Armed with reams of new research, she details how women struggled for power and instead got stuck in an endless quest for perfection. The challenges confronting women are more complex than ever, and they are challenges that come inherently and inevitably from being female. Spar is acutely aware that it’s time to change course.

Both deeply personal and statistically rich, Wonder Women is Spar’s story and the story of our culture. It is cultural history at its best, and a road map for the future. 


About the Author: Debora L. Spar is the president of Barnard College, a women’s undergraduate college affiliated with Columbia University. She received her doctorate in government from Harvard University and was the Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Spar is the author of numerous books, including Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Invention, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet and The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception.


About the Author: Dr. Spar received her doctorate in government from Harvard where she was one of the first women professors at Harvard Business School, teaching courses on the politics of international business, comparative capitalism and economic development, and had served as senior associate dean for faculty research and development. She is currently serves as member of the Board of Directors at Goldman Sachs and President of Barnard College, an institution firmly committed to feminism.


Spar’s research focuses on issues of international political economy, examining how rules are established in new or emerging markets and how firms and governments together shape the evolving global economy. She has been a vocal proponent of women’s education and leadership, spearheading initiatives that include Barnard’s Global Symposium series, an annual gathering of high-profile and accomplished female leaders held each year in a different region of the world.


This event is free and open to the public.


Presented by the Global Voices Lecture Series, the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.


Wonder Women can be purchased through the Seminary Co-op Bookstore at