September 9, 2013
Half the sky
In 1973, the previously all-male Ateneo de Manila University accepted its first women students. 127 enrolled as freshmen, and 35 transferees were accepted in the upper years. It was a tough road to get to that point, with both the student council and the administration against it as late as 1968. The year-long commemoration of coeducation in the university is titled "40 Years, Half the Sky," after the Chinese proverb which says that "Women hold up half the sky." The young female students of Ateneo now take their presence in the university for granted; many of them don't even know what "coeducation" means. I hope that the commemoration helps them understand the issues back then, and how many women and girls all over the world continue to struggle with disempowerment, oppression and violence.