The second eldest women’s college in the United States of America, Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, will accept transgender and non-binary students from the start of the 2019/2020 academic year.
The college stated that they will “admit and enroll students who were not born female, but who identify and live as women”. Such students “will need to provide legal documentation that they are legally women or that they are transitioning to female”.
They will “also continue to admit and enroll students who were born female but who identify as non-binary…who experience their gender identity as falling outside the categories of man and woman”.
The amendment entails that students who were born female but identify as male and non-binary students that are transitioning to male will no longer be accepted as before.
Explaining this decision, they said: “Because the College has expanded its definition of womanhood to include both sex and gender, it is logically consistent that it also acknowledges both sex and gender in its definition of manhood.”
There are only three women-only colleges in the UK, which are Murray Edwards, Lucy Cavendish, and Newnham colleges at the University of Cambridge
In their statement, they continued: “Stephens College has recommitted to its singular mission of educating women…the College’s admissions policy will recognize both sex and gender identity in its determination of a student’s eligibility for admission and enrollment.”
The change, which has been in the works since 2014, will not impact current students. The college also said it was a “unanimous decision” to amend the policy.
Five years ago, other women’s colleges in the US began implementing similar policies. Mills College in Oakland, California pioneered the acceptance of transgender students, followed by Colleges such as Wellesley, Smith, Bryn Mawr, and Barnard.
There are only three women-only colleges in the UK, which are Murray Edwards, Lucy Cavendish, and Newnham colleges at the University of Cambridge. In 2017, the latter has stated that they will only accept students “formally recognised” as female.
In the same year, Murray Edwards revised its admissions policy to include transgender and non-binary students, which Lucy Cavendish adopted in July last year.