purpose of the Encyclopedia is to provide a comprehensive information
resource about women in higher education, with particular emphasis
on the United States. Entries will be useful to students, scholars,
policymakers, journalists, and others seeking to gain an understanding
of key issues related to women and gender in higher education.
This Encyclopedia will provide accessible sources of information,
scholarly interpretations, and historical context for what is
known about women in higher education, enriching research papers,
class projects, course lectures, and articles in the popular
media. We are committed to creating a resource on all women
in higher education by including the diversity of race/ethnicity,
sexuality, socio-economic background, and age represented among
women students, faculty, administrators, and other employees
throughout the history of higher education.
history and social context of women in higher education provides
a unique perspective on the history of higher education in general.
From the foundings of the first "female seminary"
(Mount Holyoke, in 1837), to the fight for women's admission
to public military institutions (West Point, 1976; The Citadel,
1995), through very recent decisions to admit men to one of
the few remaining women's colleges (Emmanuel College, beginning
in 2001), the ability of women to participate equally with men
in higher education reflects the larger social forces of religion,
economics, immigration, race relations, and the movement for
women's equal rights. Public policy has been a critical feature
of this history, usually advancing women's status (Title IX,
Affirmative Action) but sometimes reinforcing the dominant place
of men in the academy (the G.I. Bill).