You may download a copy of a complete report on the results of the focus groups.
Reasons for Attending Woman’s College:
- Strictness -90.1% “Not as strict” as another in-state university attended by one WC alumna.
- Cost - 76.7% WC reportedly had one of the most affordable tuition and fee costs compared to other local universities.
- Reputation - 58.2% WC had a “good” reputation of being a strong academic institution.
- Field of Study – 59.7% WC offered their chosen field of study (i.e. home economics).
- Location - 40% Proximity to some women’s homes allowed them to commute to school and live at home.
- Peers - 31.8% Friends were attending.
- Relatives -28.4% Having family members attend WC or tell them they would attend WC.
- Expectations - 16.8% It was “assumed” as a matter of fact that they would be attending college and that college choice would be WC.
What did you do at Woman’s College?
- Held leadership positions – 30.3%
- Participated in sports – 24.7%
- Received mentoring
- Role modeling by teacher, coach, advisor, or administrator – 56%
- One-on-one mentoring by teacher, coach, advisor, or administrator – 44.6%
- Role modeling by specific students – 24%
- One-on-one mentoring by specific students – 12.3%
How did Woman’s College prepare alums for life after college?
- Gave me a view of life outside my own sphere – 62.1%
- Gave me a lifelong love of learning – 60.6%
- Helped me find a good job – 59.7%
- Prepared me for a fulfilling career – 58.9%
- Gave me confidence in my abilities – 57.1%
- Connected me to lifelong friends – 48.1%
- Prepared me for further education – 47.6%
- Encouraged me to combine participation in the outside world with a strong commitment to family – 35%
- Convinced me I could do things I never thought I could – 34.6%
- Helped me make a difference in the world – 33.4%
Lessons Learned from Woman’s College:
“I have an overall feeling, about people who went to Woman’s College…it’s almost like you can really tell them [apart from others] when you are in a group because they do have a certain independence even though they’re married. It’s something that we learned, but no one taught us, because the women here who taught were like that…it was a woman’s school so we just sort of got this confidence. No one had to tell us to be a woman.”
Pathways through Life
Woman’s College alumnae started life after graduation in one of three main roles: 1) wife (35%), 2) scholar (30%), 3) employee (35%). They then proceeded to add other roles, sometimes singly and other times simultaneously throughout their lives. Below are summaries of the sequence of the first two roles alumnae assumed after graduation:
• Role as Wife. Women who assumed this role after graduation described their next pathway as an employee (29%), mother (43%), volunteer for church or community organizations (14%) or scholar (14%).
• Role as Scholar. This role refers to women who continued their education. Women who assumed this role after graduation described their next pathway as either an employee (83%) or wife (17%).
• Role as Employee. Women who assumed this role after graduation described their next pathway as a scholar (14%), caregiver (14%), wife (58%), or someone who has had to travel or relocate (14%).
These are busy, service-oriented women:
- 94% engage in volunteer service
- 83% held leadership positions
- 96% were employed at some point during their lifetime
- 89% are mothers
- 85% rate their health as good to excellent
- 93% agreed that they were satisfied with the life that they have lived
- 79% believed that they had made the most of their talents and potential
Balancing Multiple Roles
Women often had multiple roles to fill and described several strategies for balancing the demands of those roles. They set priorities and made choices about what they could and could not do. The set schedules for to help complete the different roles. They learned to pace themselves to allow for completing roles without getting overwhelmed. Women sequenced their roles so that some were dropped when demands of others increases. For example, women left the workforce or decreased work hours to make time to raise children, pursue education, or care for other family members.
Women also spoke to making trade-offs such as missing social events because of work or family responsibilities or limiting accomplishments at work because of family responsibilities. They also spoke of missing time with their families because of work responsibilities.
Health and Quality of Life
Women talked about the health problems they were facing, those they felt were common among women they knew, and concerns affecting their quality of life today.
Health. Health problems mentioned included such chronic diseases as arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson ’s disease, osteoporosis, delusion, and health risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and use of hormone replacement therapy.
Quality of life. Below are the concerns mentioned by women as being important to their quality of life today:
- Money- having enough to cover expenses
- Health care – important but expensive
- Retirement- the decision of when to move to a retirement community is complex and difficult
- Burden – do not want to be a burden on family members who may have to care for them
The alumnae described their beliefs about what is needed to have good health and quality of life. Their discussions illustrated two models of health and quality of life (QOL). The first is that financial security leads to having health insurance and an ability to care for one’s health that leads to good health and QOL. The second is that being physically, psychologically and socially active help with decreasing stress and feeling strong and confident, which protects positive health and QOL.
More To Come:
As analysis of the data continues we know we will learn more. CWHW feels it is fair to say that this is a great group of women with an enormous amount of wisdom and knowledge to share with the world. We are grateful to all of the women who took so much of their own time and energy to tell us all how to live fulfilling lives.