Double X blogger (and Wellesley grad) Morgan Smith criticizes a Forbes article that puts forth the same “lame defense” of women’s colleges.
The lead character in these articles is familiar. She was a timid smart girl fearful of speaking up in high school, ridiculed by classmates as a lesbian or feminist for her choice of all-female higher education. Then she is transformed by the powers of the single-sex classroom into a poised, successful adult. The problem is that this defense is actually derisive. It implies that only outside of a coeducational classroom can women trade timidity and lip-gloss for assertiveness and a scholar’s pilled cardigan. The notion that having men around distracts women from academic pursuits and that professors at coed institutions don’t take women seriously is not only dated, but patronizing….
She argues that the value of attending a single-sex institution does not lie in the fact that it is single-sex, but in the fact that it is a quality educational institution in its own right. She chose Wellesley not because she wouldn’t have been taken seriously if there were men in her classes.
It’s because of Wellesley’s excellent professors and dedicated students. That’s why I can’t stand to hear women’s colleges justified by the faults of coed classrooms, or the wage gap, or their ability to churn out Secretaries of State.
She puts forth a compelling case. Even though I do think the lame old-case has some validity. Mom, having attended Wellesley, what do you think?