As a Bryn Mawr student, I obviously have a lot of respect for single-sex education, so my story took on a life of its own. I had fifteen pages of notes for a six-hundred word article. And it’s the type of story I went let die. I’ve continued to question people all weekend about single-sex education. A friend who graduated from Bryn Mawr last year came to visit and I pestered her for a half hour about her time at a women’s college prepared her for the business world. My brother’s best friend is attending a former men’s college, now co-ed, but lives in all male housing. How’s that impacted him?
One of my friend half-jokingly said I could turn this into a book. And I think I probably could. I can’t stop thinking about it.
In particular, I keep going back to something the Mount Holyoke Student Government VP, Stephanie Roses, said. It’s worth quoting in full:
Questions that have come up: Why does the college feel it needs to explore other options and prove to others that it may remain a women’s institution? Why do single sex institutions need to re-examine their very existence year after year? [Emphasis hers]?
I think it’s an excellent question. Why do we feel the need to stand up and scream every few months: Hey! We’re still relevant!
I’m not going to give you all the stats. You can look those up anywhere. I’m going to give you the responses my friends gave:
-One said she wouldn’t have double majored at a co-ed school.
-Another said she wouldn’t have explored other departments before declaring her major.
-A third friend said she wouldn’t participate in class nearly as often.
-Another said she’s matured far faster from all her friends at home.
At that’s just in informal conversations with friends.
What I’m trying to say is that we do matter and we are relevant.
When I interviewed Jenny Rickard, our Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer, she said, “The work of women’s colleges is not over.” There’s still too few women in Congress, in business, in academia. We have a long way to go and Bryn Mawr is doing a lot of the heavy lifting.