I can't imagine what it must have been like for those six women who were the very first pioneers in the Ateneo. To be such a minute minority and to have to deal with whatever discrimination back then must have been a great challenge to these women, but, despite this, they persevered.
In an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer by Dr. Queena Lee-Chua about the anniversary, she notes that co-education could have started in the Ateneo much earlier, in 1966, had the student body and government approved it. But they didn't, and a rather discriminatory question in an article in the school's official publication Guidon asked, "“What about the sons of alumni who may have the same amount of brains [as girls] but less inclination to work themselves to the bone studying the way many girls do?”
Female Ateneans are public servants: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P. A. Sereno; former Akbayan Party Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel; Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Tang-Uy; Postmaster General Josie dela Cruz; and Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte-Alimurung.
Scholars and educators: University of Cebu chancellor Yvette Candice Gotianuy; University of Chicago astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes; and Philippine Wildlife Conservation Society president Angela Nina Ann Ingle.
Executives and social entrepreneurs: Sunstar president Gina Garcia-Atienza; Rags2Riches founder Reese Fernandez-Ruiz; GotHeart founder Mel Yeung; and Human Nature founder Anna Meloto-Wilk.
Media movers: Summit Media president Liza Gokongwei-Cheng; investigative journalist Chay Florentino-Hofileña; ABS-CBN executive Cory Vidanes; host-actress Kris Aquino; GMA anchors Vicky Morales-Reyno, Pia Arcangel-Halili and Suzie Entrata-Abrera; and Solar News anchor Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan.
Artists: School of Fashion and the Arts cofounder Amina Aranaz-Alunan; painters Elaine Roberto-Navas and Mia Herbosa; actress Ina Feleo; designer Mich Dulce; novelist Samantha Sotto; and poet Fatima Lim-Wilson.
Athletes, advocates and religious: equestriennes Toni Leviste and Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski; cancer warrior Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala; and Cenacle Sisters regional superior Sr. Nerissa Bandojo, RC.42 years after the first full batch of co-eds entered the college campus, the Ateneo is once more breaking new ground as it prepares to open its Senior High School to female students; the first batch is expected in school year 2016-17. Once more, there is opposition in the form of students and alumni who cannot bear to see the formerly all-boys high school breached by the opposite sex.
I've already responded to some of these concerns in my previous post about co-education in the high school. Perhaps we can take a page from the lessons learned by the college when it embraced co-education; perhaps we can invite some of these pioneers to the high school in order to give us an idea of what we should expect as a high school. Granted, the experience is going to be different, since high school students are generally younger than those entering college.
I'd also like to take this time to point out that, 42 years after the college embraced co-education, the University still standing, prouder than ever. School officials and teachers are working hard in their preparations for senior high school. There is no reason to believe that the senior high school will not acquit itself well as a co-educational school.