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Women's Colleges and Universities in a Global Context

, 192 pages
August 2014



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Women's Colleges and Universities in a Global Context

Educating girls and women is a powerful route to improving societies worldwide. When women receive more education, literacy rates in children rise, maternal and infant death rates drop, and women enjoy an increased earning capacity. Yet in parts of the developing world, women’s education is considered a low priority at best and a dangerous countercultural activity at worst.

In Europe and North America, the number of women’s colleges is shrinking—yet women-only institutions are growing in size and number in many other regions of the world, where they provide access to female students who are prevented for legal, cultural, religious, or practical reasons from attending coeducational universities. Women’s Colleges and Universities in a Global Context is the first book to provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of the increasing significance of single-sex higher education institutions for women around the world.

Based on Kristen A. Renn’s on-site study of thirteen women’s colleges and universities in ten different countries—Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom—this timely and provocative volume combines interviews of campus leaders, faculty, and students with extensive online and archival research. Renn provides an overview of each country’s political, economic, and educational situation, then explores the theoretical and practical themes she uncovers in their educational institutions for women. In the end, this volume addresses not only the role of women’s colleges in their own countries but also what these institutions can teach us that would benefit higher education worldwide.

Kristen A. Renn is a professor of higher, adult, and lifelong education at Michigan State University as well as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. She is the author of Mixed Race Students in College: The Ecology of Race, Identity, and Community on Campus and the coauthor of College Students in the United States: Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes.

" Women's Colleges and Universities in a Global Context has a strong empirical basis and provides an important and compelling set of perspectives. I know of no other book that has taken on the ambitious research agenda developed here. Well written, engaging, and thoughtfully presented."

"Renn boldly engages the complexities of women's lives globally, giving careful attention to the intersections of gender, culture, economics, and education... Women's Colleges and Universities in a Global Context is a rich resource for researchers and students interested in women's issues and the role of higher education in transforming the climate for women's equity across the world... With this book, Renn has further confirmed her well-deserved reputation as a preeminent scholar of higher education both within the US and internationally."

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