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SHORT TAKES


May 21, 2007

It's Gender Repression When I Say It Is

Joanne Creighton, President of Mt. Holyoke College, makes several worthy points on the behalf of women's colleges in The Boston Globe today, but her case for the knowledge they convey is rather bizarrely ordered.

Consider the admirable facts that she could cite first:

1. Mt. Holyoke has produced, in the last forty years, more graduates that went on to earn doctorates in the life and physical sciences than any other liberal arts college in the country.

2. Women's colleges enroll larger numbers of low-income students than peer gender-mixed institutions.

3. Graduates of women's colleges include such estimable figures as Nancy Pelosi, Elaine Chao, and Madeline Albright.

Yet, before all of this, her first argument on these colleges' behalf is:

Graduates are more able to see gender-repression when they encounter it and to distinguish between personal and systemic barriers to success.

A sophisticated grasp of gender repression? So that's how Mt. Holyoke grads get into Physics PhD programs? And I had always imagined that they key was a sophisticated grasp of thermodynamics. Where does that factor in, President Creighton. Lower?

Comments (1)

karen:

This is a silly comment. Certainly, the achievements you highlight are laudable, but would anyone argue that Mt Holyoke graduates more future life science Ph.D. earners because it's a women's college?

You provide very little substance or context from the original article on which you're ostensibly commenting -- just barely enough to provide an opportunity to voice your opinion that you no doubt held before you read the article.

Would you not agree that it's important to "distinguish between personal and systemic barriers to success"? Shouldn't we all be able to recognize when we must expect more individual effort of ourselves if we hope to achieve our goals? Isn't there special value in an education that prepares us to see when we must be self-reliant?

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