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I was wondering if anyone would be able to send me some information about promoting feminist activism in higher education? I am a graduate student in College Student Personnel and am designing my ideal university. My university is an all-women institution and I want them to develop a feminist identity and an appreciation and dedication towards feminist activism. Any ideas on programs during college that would help develop these feminist outcomes? —Mary Ann

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM and for your inspiration. Your project sounds great, I only wish it were "more than a project." I think that the most important thing to keep in mind when you design your school is that feminism is a "way of life" and its values are basic human rights. For instance, you shouldn't concentrate on creating "separate" feminist groups, but make sure that every group is feminist. And the same goes for classes...there shouldn't be "Women's History" or "African-American History" as these should be a part of "History."

I think it is important that all women -- especially young women -- have a space to share experiences, ideas, opinions. Through these exchanges we learn that we are not alone; that we shouldn't be ashamed/embarrassed/guilty of something; and that we do know more than we think we do. Often times, women wait until they experience date rape or job discrimination to realize that women are in fact not treated equally. Hopefully, this exchanging can get women to this place without having to first experience the inequities of it all. What I am trying to say, is make sure that this type of space is encouraged at your school.

Also, women have to know that feminism is about equality -- for both men and women. Women need to know that it not only expands their opportunities, but men's, too. It is about creating better choices for women -- and making sure that these are informed choices. Your school can provide ways to this -- i.e. examples of what women can do, as well as what men should do -- parenting isn't a women's job. Through working closely with the faculty, your school can also instill in its students the benefits of mentoring and therefore, women helping women.

Having gone to an all women's college myself, I also think that by the nature of it being "all women" -- most women will develop a dedication toward feminist activism. I hope this helps--if it doesn't let me know and perhaps I can provide more information. Good luck.


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