|Follow on Twitter as @rebecca_ruiz|
Today, young women are actually more likely to graduate from college than men, and the state of gender equality is discussed without hesitation — from campaigns like Lean In and HeforShe to pop culture expressions of feminism (think Beyonce). In fact, some young women choosing colleges don't see a reason for single-sex higher education.
That much is reflected in the statistics. Fifty years ago, there were 230 women’s colleges in the United States. Less than 50 of those have survived. While many colleges face the same challenging trend of declining enrollment, those schools haven't eliminated male students as a potential future source of income.
The latest casualty is Sweet Briar College. In February, the board of directors of the 114-year-old Virginia school voted to close the college, citing "insurmountable financial challenges." Since then, students and alumnae have lobbied to save it.
To better understand the modern experience at a woman's college, I visited Mills College in Oakland, California. [Ed: The author graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, which was founded as an all-women's college but went co-ed in 1969.]
Founded in 1852, Mills is the oldest women's college west of the Rockies. Their students feel so passionately about the school's mission that they went on strike in 1990 when the school's trustees voted to admit men as undergraduates. The students overturned the trustees' decision. Even current undergrads are visibly proud of their school's hard-won identity.
Here is what I learned by spending a day at Mills.