Women and the University
I know that the feminists would probably be outraged that the question is even coming up. However, given the state of affairs in the United States, and given some previous relationships I have had with certain ladies, I have some thoughts on this subject which I should like to share with you.
It is my opinion that there are some reasons for and against going to the university that I do not think are being given enough weight.
First of all, I should like to begin with the men. Men pretty much have to go to college, many of them to graduate school, in order to obtain a decent-paying job. That's the nature of today's world. A better reason is to become a life-long learner, but the first reason is reason enough. While there are exceptions to this idea (Bill Gates, e.g.), generally it is true. So let us take it as a given that most men will need to go to college.
Second of all, I should like to point out that in Genesis, the woman Eve was created for Adam, not the other way around. She was created to be his helpmeet. I think it is a legitimate inference that most woman should expect to marry. Furthermore, those women who do marry should try to be the kind of woman who can help her future husband. I believe that since most men have to go to college, that will have some implications for women today, namely, that this is one reason women should consider as to whether or not they should go to college. Why is that? Because I think it not good if one partner is an intellectual giant, and the other is an intellectual pygmy. Is this an absolute reason? No. I don't think there are any absolute reasons for or against going to college. I believe the command to love the Lord with our minds is an absolute command to be life-long learners. But wisdom is not measured in degrees after your name. This is simply something to consider. I would say that many women are probably going to need a degree in order to converse fluently about important topics with men, the same way most men need degrees in order to converse fluently about important things. Therefore, I think it's valid for a woman to view college as a help for her to be a better helpmeet.
Third, the Bible commands us to be in the world, but not of it. This goes two ways. On the one hand, the ideas that influence society come from the university. Therefore, there should be Christians in the university. It is not valid to infer that all Christians should be in the university, since Christians have different calls. But I think many Christians should be in the university. Christians have no need to fear the pagan philosophies. R. C. Sproul is known to have said that he only has respect for two philosophies: Christianity and nihilism. The pagan philosophies are empty, but Christianity will abundantly satisfy the most curious and brilliant mind. Since the command to be in the world but not of it applies equally to men and women, then I think it is valid to infer that many women should be in the university. In addition, the universities used to have a truly great reputation. Harvard used to be great, Yale used to be great, Princeton used to be great. They're not anymore, due to grade inflation, Unitarianism, and the like. But they are worth saving, if that's possible. On the other hand, not being of the world warns us against being overly influenced by the horrible ideas coming from the university. We should be influencing the university, and aside from the usual education that is reported to occur in some universities, we should not be influenced by them to the detriment of our faith. Only very solid, well-grounded Christians should go to a secular university. I think this is a good argument against dorm living. I have lived in dorms at a Christian college (Grove City College), and while I received a very excellent education there, I did not see much advantage to dorm life. It seemed to foster immaturity rather than maturity. I prefer the stance of New St. Andrews College, which has no dorms, and expects its students to mix with everyday sorts of people of all ages, especially in the church but also in town. That, I think, is much better.
And now, we come to some more women-specific items. What are the pros and cons? What is wisdom here? Well, I do think that, in general, staying at or near home is a wise idea for women. The Bible has the model of the man leaving and cleaving, not so much the wife. Jesus Himself said, "I go to prepare a place for you." It is much easier for a father to protect his daughter both from unworthy ideas and suitors if she is closer to him spatially. This is not absolute, but it is a factor, I deem. It certainly is possible for a father to teach his daughter well enough that she is quite prepared to take on a secular university without being close to home. I don't know how many daughters are that well prepared, but though I have come across them, I have not come across many. I would submit that most would find it better to stay closer to home. The Bible says that men need to leave home and their fathers and mothers, but it does not say so about women. Women, I think, generally stay in their first family until they marry, at which point they go to their second family.
What about home skills? What about career? Well, I shall open this Pandora's box. I believe a woman's primary calling is the home. Nothing trumps that on this earth. What would need to trump it? The home is more fulfilling than any career for most women. The home is a place where just about any skill or art you can think of can be put to great use. There are few challenges greater, and few places with more power to change society. The feminists talk about power all the time in the context of career or in relationships with men. What they don't realize is the power of the cradle. You women want power? Become a mother! So, when a woman goes into the university thinking that she wants to be a wife and mother, and comes out thinking she wants a career, something unwise has happened. I do not say wrong, for it is not wrong for a woman to have a career. In today's society, though, it is out of all proportion. Not nearly enough women view the home as the center of their lives; far too many women want careers, and the consequences of that are evil. I say that being a wife and mother is a 24-7 job. While the Proverbs 31 woman does business outside the home, I think she also knows that the home is her center. Indeed, all her skills edify the home, whether directly or indirectly (sometimes very indirectly!). So I say that if you go to college, go to obtain a degree that will help you in the home. That could be just about anything (except maybe sociology and psychology, the modern exercise of which assumes that man is basically good; since the premise is flawed, I wonder how many conclusions are trustworthy!). Especially useful in the home are the following: theology (easily the most important), English, history, art (all the arts, especially the fine arts), math and science. It was J. Gresham Machen who said something to the effect of, "Theology is not learned in seminary. It's learned on the back porch talking with Mom." I think that it is extraordinarily difficult to be a good wife and mother and also to have a full-time career. It's even difficult to have a part-time job and mix it with being a wife and mother. Add on top of that the most important relationship anyone has: their relationship with God and the need to pray and read the Bible, and I think that most women are not capable of doing it all. I wouldn't recommend it, though if there are women out there who can go the mile-a-minute required to do all that without burning out, more power to ya'. To you I would say that the Sabbath rest is probably even more important for you than for anyone else; you can't afford not to take that rest.
So what about homemaking skills? They are obviously very, very important. I would say that a woman going to college without knowing the basics of cooking and cleaning and whatnot is not wise. I would also say that men should know those things as well. Generally, though, if a woman is focused on that most excellent place, the home, she should probably expect to do more of it than her husband. And naturally, when the kids get old enough, they need lots of "practice" doing home skills. Hehe. So families need to teach their children homemaking skills. However, I would not say that if a woman is not a gourmet chef by age 18 she is an utter failure. A lot of skills that a wife needs to know, she may not even be able to learn except on the job. In other words, I do not think that the perfection of homemaking skills should get in the way of college. Yes, they are important. But I see no need for the two to conflict.
I do not pretend to examine every single reason pro and con for women to go to college. However, the reasons I have given seem to me to indicate that a good majority of women should expect to go to college, and maybe even get advanced degrees.