On the same day that Ellen Goodman denounced the renewed interest in single-sex education as “looking backward,” Georgetown University honored three graduates of women’s colleges among its eight commencement honorees.
The speakers included the highest ranking woman ever in Congress and a graduate of Trinity College, Nancy Pelosi; the first woman chairman and CEO of the highly successful mutual fund the Calvert Group, and a graduate of Douglass College, Barbara Krumsiek; and me, also a graduate of Trinity College.
For Ms. Goodman to equate schools for girls, which have repeatedly proven to be highly advantageous, with the invidious discrimination of racially segregated schools is an abuse of history and distorts the facts in a way that denies opportunity to the very girls Ms. Goodman seeks to help.
Girls and women do deserve equality of opportunity and fair treatment in coeducational settings; Title IX is the law that protects this right. But for some girls and women, single-sex institutions provide significant advantages. The women who have graduated from these institutions are some of the most powerful leaders in America. Imagine suggesting to Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barbara Mikulski or Barbara Walters or Cokie Roberts or Marian Wright Edelman or Diane Sawyer that their educations were deficient because they chose single-sex education. To deny future women leaders the kind of opportunities these women had would be the real injustice.