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Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga’s cozy Balch Hall office contains an immense, honey-hued wooden table, made from the elm trees that once stood before Mallott Commons.  The table was a gift for the President’s 2009 inauguration and commencement, The Genius of Women—a memory she cherishes.  Bettison-Varga has worked for coed Whitman College in Washington and the College of Wooster in Ohio, but Scripps’ female-focused environment has won her heart.  “Just being in the interview [at Scripps] with mostly women was so empowering. Not intimidating at all,” Bettison-Varga said, in an exclusive interview with the Forum. “It gave me a sense of what it’s like to be in class with only women.  You’re willing to take risks: I will raise my hand, I will ask that question.  There’s the freedom to be 100 percent yourself.”

In 1976, Claremont Men’s College became Claremont McKenna College, a coeducational institution with a student body equally divided between men and women.  Admittedly, CMC’s more masculine reputation may not land far from the truth, but CMCers of both genders are known to embrace the school’s culture as their own.  Graduating CMCers are prepared to enter a world where men and women coexist within the workplace—whether that’s Wall Street, Washington, or the art world.

But the new Scripps president insists that a women’s college will forever remain relevant. “We’re at a point in time where people will say ‘Why?  Women can do what they want!’” Scripps President Bettison-Varga mused during our interview.  “But the bottom line is that women are not yet equal to men.”  According to Scripps College’s 8th president—and only the 2nd female to hold the position—the place of a women’s college in America remains vital.

Mention the word “Scrippsie” to most Claremont students and a barrage of stereotypes will follow: artsy, bookish, naïve, ravenous for men, uninterested in men…and all female.  These stereotypes—a mixture of entirely off-based and completely true—exist for each of the 5Cs.  But what may be different about the Scripps stereotypes are their actual effect on the student body’s mentality.  Initially, Scripps students may not take as much pride in their school as most CMCers do.

“It’s a tough thing,” President Bettison-Varga acknowledged. “You know, there’s only a small portion of students attracted to the idea of attending a women’s college from the get-go.  It really is when we get students here on campus that they realize ‘Wow, it’s a fabulous college, it’s a women’s college, and it’s set within a co-ed environment.’”

In order to cultivate a cohesive Scripps community, Bettison-Varga believes the college’s unique humanities Core requirements set students on the path to becoming empowered women.  “Women at women’s colleges have more chances to become leaders, more high-impact opportunities to further their knowledge, and become more engaged in their academic experiences than women at coed colleges,” Bettison-Varga explained.  “If you looks at the sciences, women’s colleges historically have a higher percentage of women going on the pursue PhDs. More women role models means more supportive environments.”  Bettison-Varga cited statistics from the Women’s College Coalition to support her stance that a “leaky pipeline” still exists from college to the post-graduate and professional fields for women.

The oft-spoken catchword at another 5C, “leadership,” has infiltrated Bettison-Varga’s own vocabulary.  The Roxanne Wilson Fund for Women’s Leadership has brought prominent women in various fields—culinary sensation Alice Waters, for one—to campus in order to promote leadership at Scripps.  The 2007 Strategic Plan for Scripps outlined an idea for a women’s center for leadership, eventually a physical building where faculty and students can conduct research related to leadership.  “The idea is to really think about how we can set ourselves apart from other centers in Claremont like this and build upon what is unique about Scripps,” Bettison-Varga stated, a bit vaguely.  The center for research in leadership seems to be a plan still emerging for Scripps.

Bettison-Varga’s primary goal is to shine a spotlight on Scripps to enhance the college’s visibility on the national level.  With the most aesthetically beautiful campus in Claremont—“an environment conducive to reflection”—and a ranking within the top 25 liberal arts colleges, visibility would not seem to be an issue for Scripps.  “What we can do to help raise visibility is important to the future of the college,” Bettison-Varga said.

The president also believes the other Claremont Colleges have a duty to explain the consortium, clear and in full.

“The consortium can be more proactive as a collective in articulating who we are so that people know when they’re at Scripps they’re not going to take a shuttle bus to CMC,” she said.

Philanthropy is certainly not a weakness at Scripps.  This year, the White House recognized the Scripps College Academy as one of fifteen winners of the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award. The SCA is a program to prepare female students at underserved high schools in Los Angeles County for college.  Each summer, around 50 students reside on campus for a two-week intensive program.  Last year, 100% of SCA graduates attended college.

With an idyllic campus, an array of academic options, and a reputation for doing good in the community, Scripps College certainly has a great deal to offer.  But in a world where men and women must work together toward common goals, the concept of a college exclusively for women may approach irrelevancy. The President doesn’t think feminists can rest their case just yet; she thinks women still face subjection.

“Feminism means equality,” Bettison-Varga stated.

If equality is what feminists strive for, wouldn’t the ideal move be a coed Scripps College?  According to President Bettison-Varga, the answer is, simply, no.  “There will always be a place for the women’s college,” she said.  But there’s a certain danger for Scripps in retaining this feminist mindset.

The President’s comments suggest she recognizes the natural limits of the institution she inherited.  Landlocked by coed colleges similarly bent on increasing the renown of the consortium, Scripps’ original premise could prove a detriment to its growth.  Will American undergraduate women continue to believe they can attain equality through academic separation from their male counterparts?  For Claremont Men’s College, equality meant welcoming women into the student body; will Scripps one day make this crucial move towards integration?

Bettison-Varga rejects the idea of a coed Scripps College.  For now, she can do so safely; buffered by four coed colleges, the “heart of the 5Cs” can maintain its traditional identity.  50 years from now, however, the idea of a women’s college may well be an artifact of Claremont’s history.

  • Ferguson

    SEPARATE BUT EQUAL TOTALLY WORKS

    • Hyuu66

      “For Claremont Men’s College, equality meant welcoming women into the student body”

      “allowing” traditionally underrepresented groups to attend a college, or take a front seat, or marry does not equal equality. It takes more than that. And CMC and society are still not there.

  • SCR’11

    Hmmm…I think evaluating the benefits and relevance of women’s institutions is certainly a fair discussion to have. However, I’m questioning whether the author of this piece already knew what conclusions she planned to draw before ever writing it. I get this feeling because a cursory google search of “benefits of a women’s college” will produce a plethora of data and studies which not only indicate that graduates of women’s colleges tend to have a leg-up on their female peers graduating from co-ed schools, but also underscore their *necessity* (to be read: why they should exist).

    It might be useful to approach the discussion in such a way that doesn’t always put the onus on women’s institutions to prove their relevance, but rather, asks ‘In what ways are women attending co-ed institutions being underserved?’

    UNDERSCORING THE ABOVE POINT…
    “Data on classroom organization and climate suggest that females may be generally disadvantaged in mixed-sex settings. Most of the pertinent research is experimental, conducted either in classrooms
    or laboratories and includes both elementary and secondary school teachers and students. Surveying the relevant studies, Lockheed and Klein conclude:
    Sex inequities characteristic of the larger society are found in abundance in
    coeducational classrooms; the most common of these inequities are . . .
    sex segregation, sex-stereotyped teacher-student interaction, and imbalanced
    cross-sex peer interaction.
    Male students generally receive more attention from teachers, and they dominate discussions and classroom interaction at all levels. Lockheed also notes that ‘sex differentiated instruction under the guise of coeducation is the norm, rather than the exception’. ”

    (Hope the formatting on that turns out ok.)
    ______________________________________________________________
    Some provocative, supplemental information…
    ———-
    A study done in the early 90s seemed to indicate that, when controlled for socio-economic & educational background, women’s institutions only provide a marginal (if any) advantage in post-grad life. Basically leading to the conclusion that the reason most analyses of women’s institutions demonstrate that their graduates far outpace their co-ed peers is because they tend to come from more affluent backgrounds to begin with. This does not mean, however, that there is no longer a place for women’s colleges. See below:

    “…critics [of co-educational schools] argue that: (1) women’s cognitive development may be depressed or impaired; (2) their educational and occupational aspirations and ultimate attainment may be lowered; (3) their self-confidence and self-esteem may be damaged; (4) they may receive unequal treatment in the classroom and in curriculum opportunities; (5) teachers may devalue the work of female students relative to males; (6) sex segregation is the existing norm in coeducational schools anyway.”

    “Among other things, [Hall & Sandler] found that the “chilly climate” [of co-ed schools] discourages female students from participating in class, dampens career aspirations, undermines their self-confidence, prevents them from seeking help outside of class, and causes them to drop or avoid certain ‘sexist’ classes. By contrast, students at women’s colleges report higher self-confidence, greater involvement with both classroom and extracurricular activities, greater satisfaction with their college experiences, and higher occupational aspirations. A recent report reveals that the negative effects of coeducation for women may be even more severe, taking the form of sexual harassment and physical threat. Thus, it does appear that the structure of schooling, especially its gender context, helps to create, maintain, and exacerbate sex differences in educational outcomes. It appears that single-sex schools may offer an environment that is more conducive to learning than mixed-sex schools, especially for women.”

    ———-
    “Graduates of women’s colleges also tend to pursue advanced degrees at a much higher rate than women who attend co-educational institutions. Nearly 50% of the women who have graduated from women’s colleges have gone on to earn masters or doctoral degrees. In fact, women’s college graduates are more than twice as likely to earn doctoral degrees and complete professional degrees such as law or medicine.”

    _________________________________________________
    CITATIONS:
    —>The Value of Attending a Women’s College: Education, Occupation, and Income Benefits by Cornelius Riordan. Published in The Journal of Higher Education Vol. 65, No. 4 (Jul. – Aug., 1994), pp. 486-510
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2943857

    —> http://www.thehighschoolgraduate.com/editorial/USwomens.htm

    • CMCer

      @SCR ’11
      “It might be useful to approach the discussion in such a way that doesn’t always put the onus on women’s institutions to prove their relevance, but rather, asks ‘In what ways are women attending co-ed institutions being underserved?'”

      While I understand your inclination to place the burden of proof on the opposing side in this debate (you would be foolish not to attempt to do so), I think that the perspective in this article is correct in this regards. I say this for one primary reason: Scripps, and all women’s (or men’s) colleges for that matter, are inherently discriminatory. Students for admission are judged based not solely upon the academic and personal qualifications, but also based upon their sex and gender. When any institution discriminates in this fashion, I believe the onus of proving why this discrimination is acceptable lies solely on that institution and its defenders.

      There are a number of rational arguments as to why single-sex educational environments are beneficial. Regardless, I believe that an institution that practices discrimination (regardless of the intention behind it), bears the responsibility of defending that policy, rather than us assuming that a discriminatory policy is acceptable prima facie. Moving beyond the philosophical disagreement we have regarding the best perspective to approach the issue, I think a similarly compelling issue is the question of whether Scripps ought to receive the benefits of federal money in the form of financial aid despite its admission policy.

      **In a probably futile attempt to avoid unnecessary confusion and sidebars regarding word choice, I should note that I use the term “discriminate” in its technical meaning: to create a distinction in the treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, sex, or age. I am not intending to draw any moral parallels between historical discrimination in the US or worldwide, and the admissions policies of single-sex educational institutions.

      • SCR’11

        Firstly, I’d like to thank you for typing out such a thoughtful response—it’s increasingly rare on many of the Claremont blogs/forums.

        I absolutely see where you’re coming from when you write, “When any institution discriminates in this fashion, I believe the onus of proving why this discrimination is acceptable lies solely on that institution and its defenders,” and I don’t think we really disagree at all, at least in a philosophical sense.

        Where I think we diverge is at what strata of institution we believe there should be accountability. While you point to the micro-level institution of Scripps College and similar establishments, I believe that societal and ideological institutions should primarily bear the burden of justifying their discrimination/inequality. This is what I was trying to get at with “In what ways are women attending co-ed institutions being underserved,” but perhaps a better phrasing would have been, “WHY are women attending co-ed institutions being underserved?”

        In my opinion, to question the existence and practices of spaces like Scripps College verges on triviality and is largely unproductive. We know sexism exists. We know women carry less cultural currency than men. We know women are afforded less opportunities than men. We fundamentally know that we do not live in an equal society. So to ask “Why does Scripps College exist?” or “What is the justification for its discrimination?” is to be redundant. It would, however, be fair to ask, “How does Scripps College challenge societal/ideological inequality?” And for the answer to that, I think the proof is in the pudding.

        —————
        “I think a similarly compelling issue is the question of whether Scripps ought to receive the benefits of federal money in the form of financial aid despite its admission policy.”
        You can probably guess where I’m gonna go with this already, buuuut….Let us flip that question around (and just for fun we’ll use CMC as an example of a co-ed school, but it could be any):

        –“Why should CMC receive the benefits of federal money in the form of financial aid despite the fact that ‘data on classroom organization and climate suggest that females may be generally disadvantaged’ and that ‘male students generally receive more attention from teachers, and they dominate discussions and classroom interaction at all levels?’

        • CMCer

          Thanks for your cogent reply. It is nice to be able to have a civil discussion on this, or any, issue online.

          In reply to your point regarding the difference in opinion over the strata of institution for which we believe there should be accountability regarding discrimination, I understand the inclination to tend towards examining those grandiose institutions, as they do permeate the greater society: Why does society discriminate against [insert group here], and how does that general sense influence smaller institutions like Scripps? I find that looking at the problem on such a macro, or as you describe it, as part of a “societal and ideological institution” is wholly impracticable. We can yell into the zeitgeist forever about why women or Jews or blacks or dwarfs are discriminated against, and how society at large is to blame. But I firmly believe that the actions of every institution are what define the “societal and ideological institutions” that you would blame, not the other way around.

          Put another way, I do not agree that the solution to what you claim is widespread sexism in society today can be discrimination at any level, in any institution. Moreover, I will always put the onus of responsibility for any one person’s, any one college’s, or any one institution’s decisions on that person/organization themselves. You claim that a better question to ask would be: “How does Scripps College challenge societal/ideological inequality?” My answer is that they do so, not by working to ameliorate the effects of past discrimination and what they perceive as modern injustices following a similar vein, but rather by simply reversing the prejudice that caused those injustices in the first place.

          As far as your response to my question, I think the question you pose as a response: “Why should CMC receive the benefits of federal money in the form of financial aid…'” fails as a suitable analogy primarily because you conflate two different aspects of equality. My argument with Scripps is that it as an overtly discriminatory admissions policy. Whether justified or not, and I would clearly say it isn’t, that policy expressly prohibits men from working on equal terms with women at the university. In contrast, CMC affords the exact same opportunities to both men and women in its classroom. That women may choose to take less advantage of that freedom is not the same thing as if they were denied the freedom to act. That being said, I know a number of women who were just as active in discussions at CMC as men were.

          Lastly, and I know this will be a bone of contention, I’m not willing to concede the “fact” of a hugely sexist society. You state: “We know sexism exists. We know women carry less cultural currency than men. We know women are afforded less opportunities than men. We fundamentally know that we do not live in an equal society.” I’m just not willing to accept this. The fact is that percentage of women in executive or professional jobs exceeds the percentage of men in those jobs. Women are going to college at a much higher rate than men. The current recession has been far more devastating to men than it has women. The pay gap has shrunk hugely over the past decades (accounting for occupation, experience, education and union status), the pay gap is less than 10 percent, and that doesn’t include time away for women who choose to start a family. I’m not saying that all is well in society, but I do believe that society has progressed to such an extent that the “Society is sexist and limiting our options” argument no longer holds water.

          —-

          My apologies if this is mildly rambling or missed your point, It’s late and I have work tomorrow. Regards.

  • SCR’11

    Hmmm…I think evaluating the benefits and relevance of women’s institutions is certainly a fair discussion to have. However, I’m questioning whether the author of this piece already knew what conclusions she planned to draw before ever writing it. I get this feeling because a cursory google search of “benefits of a women’s college” will produce a plethora of data and studies which not only indicate that graduates of women’s colleges tend to have a leg-up on their female peers graduating from co-ed schools, but also underscore their *necessity* (to be read: why they should exist).

    It might be useful to approach the discussion in such a way that doesn’t always put the onus on women’s institutions to prove their relevance, but rather, asks ‘In what ways are women attending co-ed institutions being underserved?’

    UNDERSCORING THE ABOVE POINT…
    “Data on classroom organization and climate suggest that females may be generally disadvantaged in mixed-sex settings. Most of the pertinent research is experimental, conducted either in classrooms
    or laboratories and includes both elementary and secondary school teachers and students. Surveying the relevant studies, Lockheed and Klein conclude:
    Sex inequities characteristic of the larger society are found in abundance in
    coeducational classrooms; the most common of these inequities are . . .
    sex segregation, sex-stereotyped teacher-student interaction, and imbalanced
    cross-sex peer interaction.
    Male students generally receive more attention from teachers, and they dominate discussions and classroom interaction at all levels. Lockheed also notes that ‘sex differentiated instruction under the guise of coeducation is the norm, rather than the exception’. ”

    (Hope the formatting on that turns out ok.)
    ______________________________________________________________
    Some provocative, supplemental information…
    ———-
    A study done in the early 90s seemed to indicate that, when controlled for socio-economic & educational background, women’s institutions only provide a marginal (if any) advantage in post-grad life. Basically leading to the conclusion that the reason most analyses of women’s institutions demonstrate that their graduates far outpace their co-ed peers is because they tend to come from more affluent backgrounds to begin with. This does not mean, however, that there is no longer a place for women’s colleges. See below:

    “…critics [of co-educational schools] argue that: (1) women’s cognitive development may be depressed or impaired; (2) their educational and occupational aspirations and ultimate attainment may be lowered; (3) their self-confidence and self-esteem may be damaged; (4) they may receive unequal treatment in the classroom and in curriculum opportunities; (5) teachers may devalue the work of female students relative to males; (6) sex segregation is the existing norm in coeducational schools anyway.”

    “Among other things, [Hall & Sandler] found that the “chilly climate” [of co-ed schools] discourages female students from participating in class, dampens career aspirations, undermines their self-confidence, prevents them from seeking help outside of class, and causes them to drop or avoid certain ‘sexist’ classes. By contrast, students at women’s colleges report higher self-confidence, greater involvement with both classroom and extracurricular activities, greater satisfaction with their college experiences, and higher occupational aspirations. A recent report reveals that the negative effects of coeducation for women may be even more severe, taking the form of sexual harassment and physical threat. Thus, it does appear that the structure of schooling, especially its gender context, helps to create, maintain, and exacerbate sex differences in educational outcomes. It appears that single-sex schools may offer an environment that is more conducive to learning than mixed-sex schools, especially for women.”

    ———-
    “Graduates of women’s colleges also tend to pursue advanced degrees at a much higher rate than women who attend co-educational institutions. Nearly 50% of the women who have graduated from women’s colleges have gone on to earn masters or doctoral degrees. In fact, women’s college graduates are more than twice as likely to earn doctoral degrees and complete professional degrees such as law or medicine.”

    _________________________________________________
    CITATIONS:
    —>The Value of Attending a Women’s College: Education, Occupation, and Income Benefits by Cornelius Riordan. Published in The Journal of Higher Education Vol. 65, No. 4 (Jul. – Aug., 1994), pp. 486-510
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2943857

    —> http://www.thehighschoolgraduate.com/editorial/USwomens.htm

  • SCR’11

    After doing a quick re-read, there are a few other elements of the article I’d like to discuss.

    You seem to be delicately tip-toeing around the supposition that attending Scripps, and women’s colleges in general, somehow disadvantages students by cutting them off from the “real world” reality where people of all genders must interact (whether they like it or not & whether it’s equal or not). You write…
    “Graduating CMCers are prepared to enter a world where men and women coexist within the workplace—whether that’s Wall Street, Washington, or the art world,” and later, “But in a world where men and women must work together toward common goals, the concept of a college exclusively for women may approach irrelevancy.”

    -Firstly, let’s be real here, just because I attend a women’s institution doesn’t mean I’m taking a 4-year vaycay from reality. Most students who attend Scripps came from co-ed schools before entering the college and, even if they didn’t, are still well-acclimated to living in a society where men & women interact. And let us not forget, Scripps is a part of a consortium–this fact alone will likely protect Scripps from “approach[ing] irrelevancey.”

    Next, I’d like to provide a little clarity to Bettison-Varga’s statements about her goal of increasing Scripps’ visibility. You write that, “With the most aesthetically beautiful campus in Claremont…and a ranking within the top 25 liberal arts colleges, visibility would not seem to be an issue for Scripps.”
    -Yes, we might be more well-known and attractive than RandomCommunityCollege.com, but Scripps has had to fight tooth-and-nail to increase their presence and move up in the rankings…mostly because we have to get over the initial hurdle of selling the entire premise of a women’s institution before ever getting to a discussion of our academic preeminence.
    -And, I can only speculate, but she’s likely also making a euphemistic reference to the fact that some of our Claremont partners tend to down-play (if not deride) the merits of their sister college when speaking to prospective students. From my interactions with Scripps Admissions Officers and other staff, it seems that there’s a real issue of a lack of mutual respect for Scripps among administrators/staff at other Claremont institutions. …not naming any names…but yah. This is likely what LBV was referring to when she spoke about the consortium being “more proactive in articulating who we (Scripps) are.”

    Aaaand finally…
    “Bettison-Varga rejects the idea of a coed Scripps College. For now, she can do so safely; buffered by four coed colleges, the ‘heart of the 5Cs’ can maintain its traditional identity. 50 years from now, however, the idea of a women’s college may well be an artifact of Claremont’s history.”
    –Given that you recognize the larger co-ed consortium provides a buffer for Scripps, I’m confused as to why “50 years from now” Scripps (as a women’s college) may be an “artifact of Claremont’s history.” I meaaan…maybe sex & gender based inequality won’t exist in 50 years but, barring that sort of progress, I think Scripps will be a-ok.

    • point of interest

      SCR’11:
      You said “let’s be real here, just because I attend a women’s institution doesn’t mean I’m taking a 4-year vaycay from reality. Most students who attend Scripps came from co-ed schools before entering the college and, even if they didn’t, are still well-acclimated to living in a society where men & women interact.”
      However, in the paragraphs above you cited a litany of evidence stating that “(1) women’s cognitive development may be depressed or impaired; (2) their educational and occupational aspirations and ultimate attainment may be lowered; (3) their self-confidence and self-esteem may be damaged.” which suggests that they are in-fact NOT well-acclimated to co-ed society.

      Are they well-acclimated or aren’t they?

      • SCR’11

        I’m really struggling with how to respond to you because, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, you seem to be purposefully obfuscating my earlier points. I’m not going to do a song and dance for you if you’re just being ornery, so I’ll keep this short.

        To be “acclimated” to an environment in no way entails that you’re *thriving* within it, but merely means that you’re *accustomed* or have *adapted* to it. (And just as a side note: all adaptations aren’t positive).

        So, in short, the gender inequality that permeates society (as referenced by my “litany of evidence”) does serve to hinder women in cognitive/psychological/& corporeal ways…and they’re used to it.

        • point of interest

          Sorry if my point seemed overly simplistic, but I think there something to that. I think you brought up a lot of good evidence, and ask a lot of challenging questions, but I failed to see a clear “thesis”, if you will, in your argument. To simplify it again:

          The problem: “We know sexism exists. We know women carry less cultural currency than men. We know women are afforded less opportunities than men. We fundamentally know that we do not live in an equal society.” I agree. The evidence is clear on this issue, but moving on.

          Solutions?:
          1. Have women learn in a co-ed environment in order to help both them and their male peers come o the understanding that they are, in fact, equal. Essentially, work the system from the inside.
          2.Have women learn a segregated environment where they will receive more attention, more confidence and better skills with which to re-enter the co-ed world and defy prejudice. Essentially attack the system from the outside.

          Which would you suggest/support?
          Would Scripps be better off if all 5-Cs were women only, or is there an inherent benefit to the co-ed environment provided by the other colleges?

  • Franklin D. Brosevelt

    I’ve peed in that fountain.

    • evangeline

      wow. you sir, are a douchebag. congrats on perpetuating your own stereotypes.

      • Edward Nigma

        I believe someone has missed the purpose of said statement in correlation to the author’s name. Congratulations, you’ve just been trolled.

        • evangeline

          somehow i dont feel the need to take back the “douchebag” comment…

        • Roflcopterson1

          lol’d

  • Guest

    Scripps is a wonderful college and an asset to the 5Cs. I’m happy Erica seems to have found a college she loves, and I hope she can appreciate that the majority of Scrippsies have done the same.

    • Ferguson

      I WILL MAKE COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT COMMENTS

      HEAR THE DOW JONES DROPPED 7 POINTS TODAY?

  • hopeful Scripps prospie

    It seems like the author of the article and Ms. Bettison-Varga mostly discuss Scripp’s relevancy in terms of gender equality. I’m a senior in high school who’s applied early decision to Scripps College. To me, it’s clearly visible that women are still disadvantaged in many aspects, including societal perception of their roles. I can also see that men face societal disadvantages unique to their gender as well, and I feel this isn’t always acknowledged. Like Bettison-Varga, I believe that these issues are still present and will continue to pose a complex challenge 50 years from now.

    However, I didn’t apply to Scripps because I felt that women are disadvantaged or that men and women face inequality. I applied to Scripps because I believe that a single-sex environment provides a unique opportunity to explore the aspects of one’s own gender and reflect on gender issues. Would I support a Claremont McKenna still only for men? Yes, I would.

    I think some will argue that it’s not necessary to study gender in a single-sex environment. I think these people are too preoccupied with the perception that a single-sex institution presumes that one gender is superior to another. It’s not necessary, but it can potentially be enlightening. In today’s age, when an individual will already have spent most of his or her life in a coeducational environment, the insights a single-sex environment can provide are hard to find and experience.

    I also believe that a single-sex environment can be empowering. Spending time living only with one’s own gender can lead one to discover strengths and have pride in that gender–much as spending time with one’s own race and ethnic background can inspire racial identity. It’s not to say that one gender or race is better than another, but to appreciate that your gender and race is part of you and has unique strengths.

    The issue of gender inequality makes the strengths of a single-sex college more relevant, but they don’t define those strengths for me. When, if ever, gender inequality no longer exists, I believe gender itself still will. Attending a single-sex institution will not be everyone’s priority; it won’t be meaningful to all. But to someone who is interested in learning about their own gender and gender in general, who would like to explore that, attending Scripps is a wonderful chance to do that.

    • evangeline

      you. i love you. come to scripps!!!!!

      • hopeful Scripps prospie

        I would gladly 🙂
        hoping to hear news from Scripps soon!

  • evangeline

    scripps students ARE well-acclimated to society by the time they graduate because their years at scripps provide a best-of-both-worlds experience that allow women who are confident and self-assured to evolve in and refine that confidence, while at the same time allowing the shyer scrippsies a safe place to come out of their shells to allow them to develop the same confidence in a very supportive place. women will always need the support of their girls, and frankly i could give or take the support of the brahs.

  • Connor Barclay

    Great article, Erica!

    Also, for those looking for a little more on Women’s history and future…

    http://www.ted.com/talks/hanna_rosin_new_data_on_the_rise_of_women.html

  • Scr 12

    I think it’s important to consider why Scripps has chosen to remain a women’s college thus far, while Pitzer made the decision to go coed decades ago. In my opinion, being a women’s college is part of Scripps’ ethos and that is unlikely to change. Scripps just wouldn’t be Scripps were it not a women’s college. Enrollment and application numbers have continued to rise over the last couple of decades, suggesting that there are many students who continue to seek a women’s college environment- a demand that just may or may not continue for the next 50 years. However, as of yet, there’s not much proof that Scripps as a women’s college is irrelevant (or will soon become so), and so I take the author’s closing statements as her own personal opinion, and one that I’ve often heard. Many women (and men) don’t see the appeal or empowerment in a women’s college environment, but some do– and I hope that the benefits to those people won’t be discounted as trivial.

  • Agatha Christie

    Charles C. Johnson for President 2012. Let’s end this progressive-era nonsense and return to the days of male dominance and female domesticity.