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Presidential Statement in Support of Global Women’s Rights

October 11, 2022

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

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