Brenau President Ed Schrader Projects that Investing in Educating Southern Women Would Yield $2.4 Trillion Economic Bonanza
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Brenau University President Ed Schrader projected that expanding investments in educating traditional-aged Southern women would yield a $2.4 trillion economic windfall over a 35-year period in increased lifetime earning potential alone for that demographic group.
As the only male speaker at the 2013 TEDx Centennial Park Women conference in Atlanta, Schrader stated that the South today sends fewer women to college in the traditional 18-24 age group than any other region of the country.
Schrader’s comments preceded, but paralleled, President and Mrs. Obama’s January 2014 strong urging of college leaders to do more to recruit and retain students, saying the nation suffers when capable young people fail to go to college and graduate. The Brenau president argued that statistics bolster the contention that, despite gains for women in the region in the past four decades, many institutional and political roadblocks remain. Consequently, women in the South still receive “less pay and less opportunity to advance” than their male counterpart, he said.. Correcting that has economic, social and – for Schrader, at least – personal implications.
Showing the group a photo of one of his four granddaughters, Schrader said she, like others, “should be able to compete and ascend to her own capabilities and potential without artificial boundaries or constraints.”
The 900-student Brenau Women’s College, the liberal arts cornerstone of the 3,000-student university, is one of only 48 women’s colleges in existence in the United States. In the 1960s there were more than 350. Schrader said the Women’s College will continue to do its part in helping to overturn outdated mores, customs and political inhibitors to improving the status of the gender.
“Women who are educated and not tied to someone else’s earnings can make their own decisions about family size, about reproductivity, about what they want to do with their lives, and about what is best for their families. But when they are tied to someone else’s earning capability, their choices are limited or eliminated. Education not only is economically freeing, it is also personally freeing.”