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WATCH: Here’s How Freedom-Minded Women Can Succeed in College

March 28, 2024

It’s hard being a conservative or libertarian woman in college—and as a student today, I’m speaking from experience.

Universities, once centers of open discourse and intellectual growth, are increasingly becoming battlegrounds where free speech is stifled, diverse viewpoints are suppressed, and free-market voices are marginalized. In this climate, freedom-minded women face unique challenges, often feeling isolated and misunderstood in a sea of leftist ideology.

The Goldwater Institute recently hosted a live webinar event featuring Karin Lips, founder of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), to discuss her new book, You’re Not Alone: The Conservative Women’s Guide to College. Also featuring Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur and myself, a Ronald Reagan Fellow at Goldwater, the discussion provided valuable advice for freedom-minded women navigating higher education.

“Creating that community matters,” Lips stressed, acknowledging the social pressure and challenges women face on campus. “From a free speech and intellectual diversity perspective, things have gotten worse on college campuses,” she added, pointing out growing bloat in university administrations as a significant problem.

Founded in 2004, NeW is dedicated to educating, equipping, and empowering conservative women on college campuses. Lips’ new book unites conservative women through both stories of hardships and triumphs. It’s a comprehensive guide filled with practical advice and personal anecdotes.

Like NeW, the Goldwater Institute is committed to fostering intellectual diversity on college campuses. “Diversity of opinion and thought should exist in our public universities,” Sandefur said. “This is a big issue for us. We’ve done a variety of things both in state courtrooms and state legislatures and courtrooms in order to defend students’ rights to be able to put on events and to have discussions and debates rather than shutting one side down,” she explained.

Goldwater is leading the nation in defeating the discriminatory “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) initiatives pervading public college and university campuses nationwide. We’ve enacted reforms and spearheaded public pressure campaigns to defund DEI bureaucracies and end the use of ideological litmus tests in faculty hiring procedures in states like Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Iowa—including the nation’s most powerful reform to take down DEI in Texas. And now we’re working to pass similar reforms in additional states across the nation. This essential work not only dismantles bloated DEI offices but also combats left-wing ideologies that stifle intellectual diversity on campuses.

The Goldwater Institute also crafted legislation to address the free speech crisis on public colleges and universities. The reform, which we have already enacted in six states, creates an official university policy affirming the importance of free expression, including provisions that form a system of interlocking incentives designed to encourage students and administrators to respect and protect the free expression of others.

Freedom-minded women are concerned not just with the political climate on campus, but also with bridging the gap between college and career. The webinar covered essential professional tips for students, ranging from picking a major to networking and relationship-building.

“Be thoughtful and purposeful about your decisions in college,” Lips advised. She emphasized the importance of considering career earnings and flexibility, as well as the value of building skills by running a student club or organization.

“I’d like to make a push for internships, whether it be at the Goldwater Institute or at another free-market think tank or non-profit,” Sandefur added. “As an employer, internships mean a lot to me.”

While freedom-minded women face significant obstacles on college campuses, organizations like NeW and the Goldwater Institute offer hope and support. By providing resources, fostering connections, and combatting DEI regimes, we are working toward a future where all students can engage freely and fearlessly in the pursuit of knowledge.

Watch the webinar here, and purchase a copy of You’re Not Alone: The Conservative Woman’s Guide to College here.

Cameron Teel is a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute.



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