Why We Choose Women's Colleges

  1. I am a Bryn Mawr woman. I don't talk about this much anywhere because often it doesn't feel like I am. I do not live at Bryn Mawr and over the course of my three years here, I've taken more classes off of Bryn Mawr's campus than on it.
  2. And yet, on Wednesday, when I woke up, Bryn Mawr was the only place that I wanted to be.
  3. Hillary Clinton is a Wellesley woman.
  4. Bryn Mawr and Wellesley are two of the five remaining all-female seven sister schools, along with Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Barnard.
  5. As of fall 2016, there are 39 women's colleges in the United States.
    This is down from 42 at the end of the Spring 2016 semester. And down from 60 in 2007.
  6. Women's colleges were created for white daughters of privilege.
  7. The 19th and 20th centuries saw the creation of 230 different women's colleges, all created by progressive thinkers who believed that women could and should be educated.
    This included the Seven Sisters, Catholic Colleges, and a number of teacher training institutions.
  8. So why are the last 39 women's colleges holding out? What's the point?
  9. Well, here are the stats:
  10. 20% of Congress is composed of women's college graduates, whilst only 2% of women attend single sex school.
  11. 30% of Businesweek's rising women in corporate America are women's college graduates.
  12. Of the 10 female CEO's in 2007, four of them were women's college graduates.
  13. As a society we hate strong women.
  14. They're bossy and strong willed. They talk too much and don't smile enough. They don't play into the stereotypes of what we think women should look like and should be.
  15. Women's colleges produce women who don't care.
  16. They are colleges of our own, that are free from many of the presumptions of the male world.
  17. They foster confidence, competence, and leadership.
  18. Women's colleges foster alumni networks of hundreds of thousands of strong, independent women, who support each other lovingly and intellectually.
  19. Women's college graduates are much more likely to tackle traditionally male dominated areas in academics and clubs.
  20. The goal is not physical and social separation from men. Most if not all women's colleges are part of some consortium which allow its students to take classes at other institutions
  21. Women's colleges remind us of the uphill battle that women still fight, and remind us of what the world should look like.
  22. They are not in the business of coddling their students, instead force them to support each other even in competition, celebrate each other's successes and share each other's sorrows.
  23. It's not easy. Women at women's colleges are challenged to push the boundaries of their intellects, and filter out any boundaries of sexism that might ordinarily stop them from doing so.
  24. Women's college graduates are aggressively demanded by top employers for their leadership potential.
  25. Each of these schools has a rich history of traditions which tie students to women who came hundreds of years before.
  26. Women's colleges are irreplaceable. There is no other community of turns out a higher percentage of high achieving women in academia and industry.
  27. The opportunities beyond community are immeasurable.
  28. Notable women's college alumni include: Marian Wright Edelman (Spelman), Betty Friedan (Smith), Gloria Steinem (Smith), Emily Dickinson (Mount Holyoke), Helen Keller (Radcliffe), Sylvia Plath (Smith), Alice Walker (Spelman), Drew Gilpin Faust (Bryn Mawr), Grace Hopper (Vassar), Margaret Mead (Barnard)
  29. Madeleine Albright (Wellesley), Elaine Chao (Mount Holyoke), Hillary Rodham Clinton (Wellesley), Gabby Giffords (Scripps), Nancy Pelosi (Trinity), Sofia Coppola (Mills), Meryl Streep (Vassar), Katharine Hepburn (Bryn Mawr)
  30. The first female president of the United States will likely be a women's college graduate.
  31. She will follow in the footsteps of the first female cabinet member, first female speaker of the house, first female secretary of state, and first woman to be nominated by a major party for the president of the United States.
  32. She will understand the sheer strength of women. She will feel the community and support of the women who came before, and pave the way for the ones who come after.
  33. Why did I bring this up?
  34. The day after the election, the first text I received was from a friend at Barnard: "kat i love you, take care today, alright? today is tomorrow and we are still fighting."
  35. Over the course of the day, texts poured in from women from my college and women's colleges across the nation all with the same message: there's work to be done.
  36. This is the community women's colleges foster, of supporting each other rather than tearing each other down, of never giving up the fight.
  37. 💪🏽
  38. I encourage you to listen to a young Hillary Rodham's Wellesley commencement speech and watch some of the videos from Wellesley Watches this past Tuesday. It will give you a better perspective of these communities of intelligent, respectful, and strong future and current leaders.