Gender ideology is killing women’s colleges like my Alma Mater

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While scrolling through Instagram several nights ago, I saw a post from my alma mater inviting students to attend an event where attendees would make reusable sanitary napkins to send to Honduras. A noble pursuit – there isn’t a woman this side of puberty who hasn’t experienced the utter mortification of bleeding through her clothes.

Except these towels weren’t meant for women. Saint Mary’s College was inviting students to make sanitary napkins for economically disadvantaged “menstruating people”.

I was aware of this recent trend of reducing women to their body parts and reproductive functions – see Vogue’s attempt to talk about health care by addressing “people with vaginas” – but it was particularly frustrating to see this erasure on the part of a Catholic women’s college. .

To top it off, this event was co-sponsored by Saint Mary’s Biology and Future Women in Healthcare Clubs. Students who love the biological sciences enough to delight in them outside of the classroom and who yearn to devote their careers to the service of the human body are the newest voices denying the obvious reality of man and nature. woman.

When I asked if my alma mater was still a women’s college, or if I should now refer to Saint Mary’s as a “menstruating college,” the person who manages the host university center’s Instagram account replied that the language was intentionally used, because “Not all women menstruate and not all people who menstruate are women!”

Such an answer calls for the obvious: what is a woman? To this follow-up question, the college staff remained silent.

When a self-proclaimed women’s college can no longer define the word “woman,” there are two futures for single-sex education. Either admission is open to anyone claiming to be female – meaning you can drop your teenage daughter off at freshman orientation and find out her roommate is sexually turned on by watching her unpack – or they’ll have to rebrand themselves. as “College for people with Uterus.

Somehow, the colleges founded to celebrate the intellect and creative potential of women are now reducing them to their anatomy. I can only imagine the Sisters of the Holy Cross who left their native France in 1843 to found a girls’ school on the Indiana border are turning in their graves.

In 19th century America, women were not admitted to most colleges and universities. Undeterred, advocates of higher education for women – often women themselves – opened theirs.

But as coeducational higher education has become mainstream, single-education has struggled to attract applicants. Colleges like Vassar, Sarah Lawrence and Wells have opened their doors to men; hundreds more closed altogether. Where there were once more than 300 colleges for women in the United States, today there are less than 50.

Women are attending college in record numbers and have for several years outstripped their male counterparts, yet only 2% of US female undergraduates enroll in a single-sex institution. The new gender ideology is going to make this stat even grimmer.

He has already made his first victim. Mills College in Oakland, California opened in 1852 as the first women’s college west of the Rockies. In 2014, it became the first single-sex college in the United States to adopt an admissions policy that explicitly welcomes students who identify as transgender (both biological males claiming to be female and biological females claiming to be male) and not binaries.

Three years later, Mills declared a financial emergency, attributed to declining enrollment and revenue. After cutting tuition by 36% in an effort to attract more students, Mills announced in March 2021 that he would graduate his last students in 2023.

It was announced three months later that the school would become Northeastern University’s sixth satellite campus in Boston. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley plans to rent dorms and classrooms on campus.

With the loss of another women’s college, fewer young women will be able to enjoy the unique benefits of a single-sex education. Female college graduates are much more likely to earn graduate degrees than their coeducational counterparts. They are more likely to report being “completely satisfied” with the overall quality of their education, and more likely than top graduates from public universities to say they feel better prepared for life after college.

Our ranks include 20% of women in Congress and 33% of female board members at Fortune 1000 companies. And that’s exactly what can be quantified. Women’s colleges have celebrity alumni networks and a loyal sense of campus sisterhood.

I am angry with the administration of Saint Mary’s for selling out its legacy as a school founded by courageous and determined women, determined to teach younger generations of women to seek the truth. I am also deeply heartbroken. I looked forward to the day when I could encourage my two daughters to apply to their mother’s alma mater. But I can’t justify paying more than $40,000 a year in tuition – or any tuition – for my daughters to be instructed to live by lies.


Emily McNally is a stay-at-home mom by day and a sophomore law student by night. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and convincing anyone who will listen that Indianapolis is the most underrated city in the union.



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