Newswise — The presidents of six of the “Seven Sisters” schools have issued a statement expressing support for women around the world “as they risk their lives for freedom and rights that should be universally sacrosanct.”
Issued in response to state-sanctioned violence against women protestors in Iran, as well as restrictions against women in the United States and other parts of the world, the statement was signed by the presidents of Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley colleges—institutions “founded to empower women,” the presidents noted.
The presidents pointed to a recent United Nations report that estimates it could take 300 years for the world to achieve gender equity. “We can and must do better,” the presidents said.
The full text of the presidents’ message follows:
Statement from the presidents of Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Vassar College and Wellesley College
As the presidents of colleges founded to empower women, we write to call attention to and express our support of women across the world as they risk their lives for freedoms and rights that should be universally sacrosanct.
From state-sanctioned violence against women protestors in Iran, to the restriction of a woman’s right to bodily autonomy in states across America, to the denial of education to girls in Afghanistan, to the 29 million women and girls who are victims of modern slavery, to the weakening of domestic violence protection in parts of Europe, the most basic rights of women across the world remain in peril.
As college presidents, we urge colleges and universities everywhere to ensure that students are educated on the complex circumstances that underlie gender inequities and to take action to protect academic freedom in the places where it is threatened. Voting is also critical, and institutions of higher education must continue to encourage students to be active participants in elections. We call on elected leaders and government officials to prioritize the equality of women and other marginalized people.
A recent U.N. report estimates that it could take 300 years for the world to achieve gender equity at the current pace. We can and must do better.
Sian Leah Beilock, Barnard College
Elizabeth H. Bradley, Vassar College
Kimberly Cassidy, Bryn Mawr College
Paula A. Johnson, Wellesley College
Kathleen McCartney, Smith College
Beverly Daniel Tatum, Mount Holyoke College