What do the following women share in common?
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
Christine Todd Whitman
What did you guess? Political party? Nope. Clearly you could do a quick google search and determine that. What else?
Here’s what they share in common (besides awesomeness, in general): They all attended a girls’ school!
That kind of surprises me, but then again it doesn’t. I’m reading Where Girls Come First by Ilana DeBare, to learn where Girls’ schools came from, and more importantly, where they are going.
For some reason on this book, I leaped to the end of it, because I’m curious to know where girls’ schools are headed. (It’s the futurist in me, I suppose.) The strongest thing I’ve read thus far for the BENEFIT of all girls’ schools is that they are “countercultural.” From the book, the following quote from page 325:
“Girls’ schools and women’s colleges turn the world on its head. In this one very small place and time, women are the center. This is a world where the pronoun of default is she, not he. It’s a world where the president is a woman, the editor is a woman, the team captain is a woman. It’s a world where female friendships are valued and important. This is all profoundly different from everyday life in the rest of America. Shana Penn, who graduated from Western High School in Baltimore in 1973, described it as “like going to another country.””
After reading this in part, I’m happy and sad all at once. Happy that, thank the LORD we still have girls’ schools, so they can truly experience this alternative universe where women can rule and see possibilities for themselves! On the other hand, sad, because why can’t the real world be like this? Why is the real world nowhere near this alternative universe created by a handful of educational institutions?
I never had the pleasure of attending an all girls’ school–with the exception of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. (And yes, I’ve also attended some women only leadership and philanthropy programs, but they really weren’t curriculum or formally based.)
Here’s the thing that I’m going to challenge myself with, and one I invite you to consider as well: how can we show girls this alternative universe, where they CAN be the presidents, and the editors in chief, and the captains? After all, you can’t be what you can’t see…so how can we show more women and girls what they CAN BE???
This, I ponder…