Coeducation and Women's Studies

In the context of the Women’s Rights Movement and the Student Movement, coeducation became a topic of concern for many of the most prestigious institutions.  This big push towards coeducation created a domino effect, as more and more schools became coeducational and followed in each other’s footsteps.  However, not everyone wanted to jump on the coeducation bandwagon.  A great deal of resistance was still present.  The roots of resistance to coeducation can be dated all the way back to the Jim Crow era.  At one point, coeducation did not just refer to the mixing of genders in educational institutions, but to it referred to the mixing of races.  This connotation was ingrained in the meaning of coeducation and resulted in a deep-rooted opposition of the movement within the older generations, whether rational or not.  Opposition to coeducation was also based in economic arguments and the belief that it would cause a decline in standards of achievement in institutions of higher education (Riley 2010).  Since women were thought to be lesser than men, many people had the preconceived notion that the quality and prestige of our higher educational system would be destroyed by admitting women to our educational institutions (Riley 2010).