The following short excerpt from Seven Years Later: Women's Studies Programs in 1976 by Florence Howe raises questions of particular importance today. We print it here to inaugurate a series of articles on Evaluating Women's Studies. Howe's full one-hundred-page report will be available free in the fall from the National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs, 1832 M Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Long-range, perhaps the most controversial and critical question in women's studies will concern control of the curriculum, particularly with respect to standards. That this should be a question at all suggests how quickly women's studies has achieved a certain level of legitimacy. Seven years ago, it was risky to associate oneself with women's studies; hence, those who did so were, for the most part, a self-selecting group who welcomed all comers. Today, both inside and outside programs, there are questions about what makes a particular course a women's studies course, about the standards for such a distinction, and about who controls the standards.