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The Women’s Center advances gender equity across identities. We educate and inspire feminist leaders, advance an empowering intellectual environment, and advocate for an equitable University culture and community.
The Women's Center envisions an equitable university in which all people share collective responsibility to promote mutual respect and success for everyone. The Women's Center strives to be a national model toward this end, in solidarity with its local and national partners.
- Advocate for Women's Equity. We are a champion for both excellence and equity inside and out of the Center. We have fair, open, and inclusive processes.
- Commitment to Social Justice and Anti-Oppression. We recognize the intersection of gender-based oppression with race, ethnicity, class, age, ability, and all social systems and strive in both perspective and practice to challenge oppression in all its forms. We engage, inform, and mobilize people to action by developing first our staff and then others as effective, socially responsible leaders. We are committed to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all genders that encourages dialogue and respect.
- Embrace Cultural Transformation. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible. We promote culture-shifting strategies, systems-building, and collective, partnership action that works to transform the University into a system that advances the common good for all.
- Maximize Our Impact. We focus our resources and support innovation and creativity toward value-added, high-impact programs. We set measurable, purposeful goals and are accountable for their successes. We candidly share what we learn with others.
- Build Community and Partnerships. We seek to further our impact and support change through thoughtful collaboration with our campus and community partners. We value relationships and approach our work with respect for all people.
- Model Integrity. We are committed to allyship and acting consciously and consistently to challenge historic patterns of marginalization and oppression in all its forms. We develop leadership intentionally within our Center and throughout our work, and hold ourselves accountable to the communities we serve. We are willing to both lead and follow.
- Live Our Passion. We are dedicated to our work and embrace laughter and joy as vital elements of our own activism and our empowerment of others to take action. We recognize our privilege in doing work that we love and we strive to live up to this by creating positive, sustainable change in collaboration with the communities we serve.
The University of Minnesota’s Women Center was founded in 1960 as the Minnesota Plan for the Continuing Education of Women. The plan was created in order to address the needs of women whose education had been interrupted by marriage and motherhood. It became the first women’s center on a university campus and continues to serve as an example for college women’s centers across the country. The center has undergone several name changes, the most recent being the Women’s Center.
Throughout its rich, 50+-year history the Women’s Center has established many women’s initiatives that have emerged as their own entities, created grants and awards for women students, and has consistently responded to the dynamic needs of its diverse constituency. A catalyst for women’s equity, the Women’s Center supports the University community in its efforts to create a healthy climate in which women flourish and reach their full potential in both the University of Minnesota and the surrounding community.
For more information about the history of the Women’s Center, view a selection of historical documents courtesy of the University Archives.
For information on our recent work, view our 2014-2015 annual report.
Pictured: Women's Center 2015-2016 staff.