Today we’ll be kicking off the first of a three-part series on women’s centers on college and university campuses. The first two posts will tackle the history of women’s centers and the role that they play on campuses, as well as their relationship with women’s and gender studies programs. The final post will discuss women’s centers role in providing a safe space for survivors of sexual violence, as well as their efforts to make sure that college/university campuses are Title IX compliant.
The first post in the series is by Anitra Cottledge, Amber Vlasnik, and Brenda Bethman (photos in order left to right), who draw from their extensive experience to provide us with an historical overview of women’s centers.
The first campus-based women’s center was founded at the University of Minnesota Women’s Center in 1960. At the time of its creation, it was called the Minnesota Plan for the Continuing Education of Women, and was focused on providing opportunities to married women who were interested in returning to higher education. Many more centers were founded in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the height of social movements for women’s, African American, and LGBT civil rights; these early centers moved to institutionalize support for women on campus and hold their colleges and universities accountable for creating learning, living, and work environments in which all people could succeed. Read More