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Experience In An All Women College: Mount Holyoke

1334 words - 6 pages

From Wellesley to Smith to Barnard to our very own Mount Holyoke, the concept of single sex education has now more than ever before seemed to interest me. Understanding the reasoning behind why a school would choose only to educate women is one that baffles me. Founded in 1837, when the concept of women’s education seem more than revolutionary, Mary Lyon established the Mount Holyoke seminary known today as Mount Holyoke College. Currently, more than 2,000 students attend the prestigious liberal arts school located in the quaint town of South Hadley. Many see Mount Holyoke as the (establisher?) of women’s education as it was the first of what is known today as the Seven Sister schools. My question is very simple, if college is supposed to prepare one for the real world, one that we have to face once we graduate then why create a space such as this one so different from the real world? Why create a space where you don’t need to prove yourself to be stronger, better and as witty as the other gender, and why create an environment in which you feel so protected that you don't feel ready for the real world. In today’s day and age, what is so good about the so called women’s education system that such schools glamorize.

Women’s education has been seen as a way for all the focus on all the attention and opportunity on the students that attend the college. It is seen as a way to eliminate the need to compete with their male peers, with no one to compete with these colleges argue that women have the ability to hold all of the leadership positions on campus which provide them with a valuable experience to apply their future cultures and post-graduate lives. The environment provides women with stronger role models they aren't typically presented with. There are more female faculty and administrators who can serve as their mentors. The colleges encourage the students to enter non-traditional careers widening their opportunities and encouraging them to pursue their interest regardless of the stereotypes about what women should do in the world. Research has shown that the students in women colleges participate more in the classroom, report higher levels of academic challenges, exhibit a greater desire to contribute to the welfare of their community and collaborate more with their peers. All women institution provide women with a voice and a level of confidence for them to experience traditionally male disciplines.

Most, if not all of these aspects that seem to be the positives aspects of single sex educations are ones that I don’t agree with. Being part of a women’s college myself I think the biggest problem is that the environment will not prepare me for what the real world has in store for me. For many students this is the first experience they have to live as independent women - live way from their family and everything that is familiar to them to get a taste of what the world has in store for them and prepare themselves for that. It’s inevitable...

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