Another all-women’s college to open doors to men who identify as women

Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Former Reporter

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  • Scripps College, Simmons College, Mount Holyoke College, and Mills College have all made similar changes.
  • The change comes as a result of pressure from students and alumnae.
  • Another all-women’s college has chosen to accept applications from men who identify as women as the transition from single sex colleges to “single gendered” colleges becomes a trend in higher education.

    Bryn Mawr, a private liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia, is the most recent college to accept applications from transgendered women.

    Bryn Mawr will be the second of the historic Seven Sisters colleges to make the change. Mount Holyoke College, the first of the Seven Sisters, amended its policy at the start of the academic year this September at convocation.   

    “In addition to those applicants who were assigned female at birth, the application pool will be inclusive of transwomen and of intersex individuals who live and identify as women at the time of application. Intersex individuals who do not identify as male are also eligible for admission,” the school said in a statement.

    The decision to amend the policy is a result of student advocacy, including a Change.org petition created by current students and alumnae. The petition has more than 2,000 supporters and included an open letter to the college requesting changes be made to accommodate transgender students including gender inclusive restroom signs, a trans-inclusive admissions policy, the use of gender-inclusive language in application and marketing materials, and dedication “to further providing and supporting continuing education and training for the entire campus.”

    “Women’s colleges were founded to provide an education for those who had previously been denied equal access to institutions because of their gender; we live in a time and place where we now know that others besides cis women experience precarity because of their gender, and that the category of ‘woman’ is not a rigid, bounded one, but rather includes a diverse pool of experiences, bodies, and identities,” the petition states.

    The decision made by the college is also a result of a study group created this past September to study the effects of widening the admissions policy.

    Scripps College, Simmons College, Mount Holyoke College, and Mills College have all changed their admissions policies to accept men who identify as women.

    Bryn Mawr will be the second of the historic Seven Sisters colleges to make the change. Mount Holyoke College, the first of the Seven Sisters, amended its policy at the start of the academic year this September at convocation.

    As more women’s schools amend their policies, many in the higher education community are looking to the two most prestigious women’s colleges— Smith College and Wellesley College—who have yet to alter their policies.

    Despite large amounts of student activism, including another petition, Smith has yet to make a significant change.

    A study group at Smith, similar to the one at Bryn Mawr, has been created to discuss the idea.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn



    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Former Reporter

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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