“In this day man must investigate reality impartially and without prejudice in order to reach the true knowledge and conclusions. What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and woman? Both are human. In powers and function each is the complement of the other. At most it is this: that woman has been denied the opportunities which man has so long enjoyed, especially the privilege of education….” – `Abdu’l-Bahá
There is a lot of buzz around the word feminism now and I’m not entirely sure why. It has never seem to be a dirty word in my head or around the people I surrounded myself for. Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem were not super heroes because what they were saying made perfect sense to me and I just took what they did for granted. And even attending Smith College made me somehwhat ignorant of the problems that surround other schools in being “old boy clubs.”
So I am bemused that the plight of women in so terrible today. How does educating women, paying them equal pay, promoting them to positions of power not make sense to people?
I took some of the local girls from the neighborhood to an event that Smith held about getting into selective colleges. Two of the girls are bright freshmen in high school, and two are amazingly bright seniors applying to school now. I hope that all four consider Smith seriously, as it is an amazing place to ensure women feel competent next to people in power.
These girls were the only Latinos at the event. It was predominantly Caucasian and Asian, though there was one young African American family.
One question that I posed to the dean of admissions was what does it mean that Smith is aid-conscious. She explained that they admit the 1200-1500 students, and then start taking qualified applicants who cannot pay and replace them with people from the waitlist who can afford it. She did say that the students they will protect more were legacy (mother and sister fellow students) as well as students of color. The admissions committee is more likely to forsake talented artists, athletes and legacy through grandmothers. This made me happy to hear as I think about the young girls from my neighborhood who already have so many challenges in their lives at school and at home.