International Educator - January/February 2017 - 29

are "involved with tackling women's
issues in the United States."
"I don't think women have achieved
the level of equal standing with men as
we would like to see," says Eva Paus,
director of the McCulloch Center for
Global Initiatives at Mount Holyoke,
in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Yet just 2 percent of high school
students say they're interested in attending a women's college, Paus says.
Elaine Meyer-Lee, associate vice
Eva Paus
president for global learning and
leadership development at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, acknowledges that it can be a challenge to
interest female high school students in the United States
in attending women's colleges because of concerns about
their social lives.

"Most students don't choose it
because it's a women's college, but
despite it. Once they get there, they
become completely converted to the
value," of an education at a women's
only school, Meyer-Lee says.
On the flip side, young women from
other countries are flocking to U.S.
women's colleges. At Bryn Mawr, the
percentage of international students
has jumped from 10 percent to 27 percent in just four years. Sutton says that
increase is "spontaneous," and doesn't
come from the college increasing its international recruiting.
She thinks international women are coming to the
schools for their high academic standards, and because
women from certain countries may feel safer at a womenonly school. Many of the students come from China and

Mount Holyoke Produces a
Champion for Human Rights
By Susan Ladika

K

AVITA RAMDAS has spent her adult

life championing human rights.
She's now senior adviser at the
Ford Foundation, which aims to
fight inequality and advance social justice, after
spending 14 years as president and CEO of the
Global Fund for Women, which stands up for
the human rights of women and girls.
She's a 1985 graduate of Mount Holyoke
College, where she graduated with a degree
in politics and international relations. She then
went on to Princeton University, where she
received a master's in public policy and international development.
The native of India says her time at Mount
Holyoke "was completely liberating at every
level. It gave me the courage to think beyond
any traditional boundaries."
Not that Ramdas had a traditional start to
life. Her father was once head of the Indian
navy, and as a child she lived in Myanmar,
Germany, and India.
She readily recounts that she started college in India and had a "breakdown" during

her second year, when she felt
overwhelmed and exhausted,
and didn't eat or sleep properly.
Kavita
She dropped out of school
Ramdas
and her "therapy" was to work at
a nonprofit organization so she could
be of service to others. "It helped get me
out of myself."
Then she met family friend Mary Jacob,
then dean of international students at Mount
Holyoke, who convinced her to apply to the
college. "She seemed to have so much confidence I could do this, I believed it myself."
Ramdas passed her exams and started at
Mount Holyoke as a junior in 1983. "I felt Mount
Holyoke was the first time in my life I really
was able to be myself and nobody's daughter,
nobody's granddaughter."
She saw women head up student government, the newspaper, sports teams, and other
activities. "It very much shaped my sense that
women could excel in every field."
She also became friends with many other
international students, including those from

Pakistan. "That was a great gift.
We really unlearned a lot of
hateful stereotypes."
Through her friends she
met and married Pakistani
Zulfiqar Ahmad, a peace
activist.
After graduation she
worked at the MacArthur
Foundation, which supports
organizations aiming to create
a more peaceful world. She later
moved to the Global Fund for Women,
which has invested in nearly 5,000 grassroots
organizations in 175 countries to defend the rights
of women and girls. She now serves as senior adviser to Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.
Despite advances in the world, it's "still
dominated by a worldview that's very masculine," she contends. She says that the recent U.S.
election shows, "misogyny is so deep. Patriarchy
is alive and well. Women have also internalized
these lessons. The space for unlearning patriarchy is so limited in a world so dominated by it."
She adds: "Women's universities are little
petri dishes of freedom. It's perfectly normal as
a woman to do anything, to be anything."
And she says of her time at Mount Holyoke:
"I think it had a very profound effect on me.
Without it I wouldn't be the person I am today."

J A N + F E B .17 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

29  



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - January/February 2017

From the Editor
In Brief
Voices
Act Globally
Tradition and History
Health and Insurance
Education Abroad
International Enrollment
View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Cover1
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Cover2
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 1
International Educator - January/February 2017 - From the Editor
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 3
International Educator - January/February 2017 - In Brief
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 5
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 6
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 7
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 8
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 9
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 10
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 11
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Voices
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 13
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 14
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 15
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Act Globally
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 17
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 18
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 19
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 20
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 21
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 22
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 23
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 24
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 25
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Tradition and History
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 27
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 28
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 29
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 30
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 31
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 32
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 33
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 34
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 35
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Health and Insurance
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 37
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 38
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 39
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 40
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 41
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Education Abroad
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 43
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 44
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 45
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 46
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 47
International Educator - January/February 2017 - International Enrollment
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 49
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 50
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 51
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 52
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 53
International Educator - January/February 2017 - View From Out Here
International Educator - January/February 2017 - 55
International Educator - January/February 2017 - In Focus
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Cover3
International Educator - January/February 2017 - Cover4
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