Who runs the world? Girls. No, really. Women’s colleges are all the rage nowadays, and from the looks of hallowed alums such as Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, and Anna Quindlen (graduates of Wellesley College, Smith College, and Barnard College, respectively), they’re here to stay.
Women’s colleges have become the backbone of pro-female pursuits for a good reason: they offer stellar educational opportunities, refreshingly liberal environments, and a steady catalog of successful female alumni ready to help with post-graduation networking. What began as a union of seven colleges—the aptly named “Seven Sisters”—has morphed into a nexus of elite liberal arts institutions ready to take in the next Hillary Clinton. Yes, I mean that Hillary Clinton.
Don’t try to persuade me that women’s colleges contribute to some kind of sexist, separatist worldview, because if you do, I’ll promptly slap some statistics in your face and look fabulous while doing it. Here’s the rundown: graduates of women’s colleges are more likely to earn PhDs than their coed counterparts. They’re more likely to succeed in male-dominated STEM fields. And, most importantly, they’re more likely to give back to the sisterhood, creating a tightly-knit network of talented, hardworking women.
Of course, the Seven Sisters aren’t the only women’s colleges in the United States (think Converse College, Mills College, Cottey College) but they are arguably the most well-known. The Seven Sisters exist as a consortium of historically all-female institutions of higher learning. Originally made up of Barnard, Wellesley, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, Vassar, and Mount Holyoke, the Seven Sisters were originally established to provide strong educations to women who weren’t given the resources to succeed in coed environments (Radcliffe and Vassar have since left the fold: the former merged with Harvard College and the latter transformed itself into a coeducational college.)
As a Barnard student, I can tell you that the education provided by women’s colleges is top-notch and one-of-a-kind. I can tell you that I feel safe here, and that if I ever feel like I need the company of a male, I can just conveniently walk across the street and find one at Columbia University. Mostly importantly, however, I can tell you that women’s colleges are perfect for any individual who identifies—in any way—as female. Women’s colleges have for so long represented the underdog; it’s only right that they’re finally on top.