Women’s colleges and universities in Asia recognize that the learning environment on campus sends signals to young women about the roles they play in society. That awareness, in turn, prompts them to examine the form and content of the education they offer and the expectations they set for students. To share experience and discuss the outlook for the future, leaders and senior representatives of 27 colleges and universities from nine Asian countries and regions attended the April 11-13 Women’s Leadership Forum, convened by the United Board and Ginling College in Nanjing, China.
One goal for these institutions, participants agreed, is to prepare women for leadership roles in their societies. On campus, this means, “to create an environment where their voices are heard, their ideas are pursued, and their successes celebrated,” as Rosario Lapus, president of Miriam College in the Philippines described it. Developing women’s leadership capacity will pay future dividends: as Heisook Kim, president of Ewha Womans University in South Korea, noted, these investments are “almost certain to naturally increase the representation of women in socially significant areas, such as policy- or decision-making.” Educators also should pay attention to emerging fields, such as artificial intelligence, that will shape future economic practices or set new social norms, and ensure that female graduates are empowered to address to these challenges.