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How Financial Reform Discriminates -- Unless Your Daughter Goes to Wellesley

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If your child is the correct gender and has the right grades, and you are poor enough to get financial aid or rich enough to pay the $49,898 in annual fees, your daughter can attend Hillary Clinton's alma mater of Wellesley and put herself in position to capitalize on a special provision in the financial reform bill that just passed Congress that mandates that the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve banks and all other federal financial regulatory agencies recruit people like her as workers.

If your child is a boy, forget it. He does not qualify to benefit from this provision.

If your daughter decides she would rather attend the University of Virginia, or Michigan, or Notre Dame, or Georgetown, or even Harvard, Princeton or Yale, you can also forget it. She is just not the right kind of girl.

That is because to benefit from this provision you must attend a "women's college" such as Mount Holyoke, Smith, Bryn Mawr or Wellesley.

These are among the places where the financial reform bill mandates that federal financial regulatory agencies must recruit workers. Section 342, subsection (f) of the bill states: "Each agency shall take affirmative steps to seek diversity in the workforce of the agency at all levels of the agency in a manner consistent with applicable law. Such steps shall include -- (1) recruiting at historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, women's colleges, and colleges that typically serve majority minority populations."

Now, leave aside for a moment the debate about whether America is truly achieving the ideal of a colorblind or gender-blind society if the government goes out of its way to specifically recruit workers from certain demographic groups and not others. There is another issue at work here in addition to the question of whether federal agencies should conduct specific programs designed to recruit women as opposed to men. It is this: Why should they especially do it at "women's colleges" as opposed to coed colleges?

Why should the government give a statutory advantage in the job market to a young lady who is a full-time border at Sweet Briar as opposed to part-time night-student at San Jose State?

The answer is: leftist elitism.

Only a few decades ago, there were hundreds of all-female colleges in the United States, including some state-run colleges and many more small Catholic colleges than there are today. Now, the Website of "The Women's College Coalition," which bills itself as "an association of women's colleges and universities" in the United States and Canada, lists 54 schools as members.

The Website has posted a study titled, "Women's Colleges in the United States: History, Issues, and Challenges" by Irene Harwarth, Mindi Maline and Elizabeth DeBra. Under the heading "The Legality of Publicly Supported Single-Sex Colleges," the study points out that the Supreme Court has declared it unconstitutional for state-run colleges to exclude students by gender.

"In 1982, the Mississippi University for Women was sued by a man seeking admission to the nursing program, and the university was ordered by the United States Supreme Court to admit men," says the study. "The Court found that the university's policy of excluding males from admission to the School of Nursing not only violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, but also was not beneficial to women because this policy furthered the image of nursing as 'women's work.'"

In the face of such a declaration, the study points out, the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel gave up being all-male and went co-ed.

So, who is left?

"Women's colleges today are largely private four-year institutions," says the study. "They are more likely to be independent nonprofit institutions or affiliated with the Catholic Church, to be located in the Northeastern U.S. and to have smaller enrollments than most institutions of higher education."

The Website of "The Women's College Coalition" also has a page titled "Women in Politics." It lists a number of women in powerful positions in Washington, D.C., today who graduated from women's colleges. The list includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who went to Trinity Washington University. It includes Secretary of State Clinton and Katie Johnson, the personal secretary to President Barack Obama, who went to Wellesley. And it includes Reps. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Jane Harman of California and Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, who went to Smith.

If Congress passed a law requiring federal financial agencies to recruit at schools like Harvard, Princeton and Yale, it would rightly be condemned as elitism. But when Congress passes a law saying these agencies must recruit at schools like Trinity, Wellesley and Smith, it is just another entitlement.

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