Women's Center FAQ
If you have any other questions about the Women's Center - let us know! Contact the Women's Center at email@example.com.
What is the Women’s Center?
It’s a student development
office that provides gender-based resources, education, and leadership
development for all students on campus—so, an internship program, events,
etc. This also means consulting with
faculty and staff about gender-related issues, doing institutional advocacy and
administration, and connecting students with the larger community.
Where is it on campus?
Inside Landis House, at
the corner of College and Pomfret Streets (across from Drayer and Adams). We have 24-7 card access, a sweet living room
and library resource, and wireless connections.
We also offer meeting and lounge space for any Dickinson Community
Does it only serve women?
Absolutely not! The name “Women’s Center” is used at many
colleges across the country because these spots were one place where people
first sat down to learn about and discuss gender on campus. In reality, most Women’s Centers educate
about gender in general, and they do that with lots of students, not just
women. At Dickinson, about 15% of people
who use the Women’s Center services are men, which is pretty typical for a new
Center. By 2016 (the end of the
Strategic Plan) we’re hoping to at least double this number—let us know if you
want to be involved at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why not just call it a Gender Center?
idea! And we’re considering a name
change, but there are a lot of other gender-related projects happening on
campus right now, so until we come up with the right solution, we don’t want to
change our name only to change it again next year (why confuse something that’s
already pretty complicated, you know?).
Besides, there’s something
historical about the name “Women’s Center”—it makes us, and Dickinson, part of
a larger tradition of campus education that we might not want to lose. And, let’s be honest, not that many people
really know what “gender” means—but a lot of people know (or at least think they
know ;)) what a “woman” is.
What is gender? Is that different than what’s on my birth certificate?
Yes and no. Your gender assignment is based on how
doctors and medical practitioners diagnose your biology when you’re born. In practice, most folks call this “sex”. That’s differentiated from “gender”, which
includes the way we walk, talk, dress, behave, and how we treat others/expect
to be treated.
In reality the line
between sex and gender is more fluid than most of us realize—but let’s not get
ahead of ourselves! For now, it’s
important to begin differentiating gender and sex in your mind, and start to
notice the ways that we all perform gender in everyday life.
Why isn’t there a men’s center?
Women’s Centers started because
individuals and institutions recognized that women are subject to gender
inequities on college campuses. The
Center is a space that provides services for the entire campus to narrow these
gaps (in the same way that the Career Center, by serving people who seek
professional development services, serves the well-being of the campus as a
whole). Forming a Men’s Center would
imply that men are in some way disadvantaged in contemporary culture and
neither the numbers nor the anecdotal data support that claim.
We definitely think there
should be space for men to discuss gender in explicit and thoughtful ways,
which is why we actively support projects like MORE, MANdatory, Dimensions, and
other campus men’s groups.
Wait, but women are outperforming men in higher education, aren’t they?
Well, yes and no. Women may be more successful or more
represented in a small subsection of some majors, and they are certainly doing
better than men in their disciplinary records, but they also are consistently
under pressures (especially the threat of violence) in social climate that men
don’t face. The news stories about men
at risk in higher education really don’t give you the big picture. Once race and class are factored into the
equation, this issue becomes even more urgent—this data demonstrate that white
men still have greater college attainment than women and men of color, and that
a minority of U.S. citizens overall access higher education, issues that certainly
matter for Women’s Centers.
In short, it would be cool
to say we’ve achieved gender equity, but we have a long way to go.
Okay, so what do you talk about - sexual assault?
Sure, sometimes, but conversations about gender involve so much more
than gender-based violence. Think about
it—how many times have you noticed how boys and girls/men and women treat each
other, behave differently, play sports differently, or argue about the same
things? How many times have you wondered
how your cultural background impacts your sense of what it means to be a
woman? We try to focus on topics of
interest to the broadest possible student population, while pushing ourselves
to go there with topics that may be uncomfortable to keep learning and growing
as a community. What are you interested
There is a Violence Prevention Coordinator and a Gender Violence
Resource Network that provide leadership and expertise on violence prevention
efforts and the Women’s Center is one of the key partners in that work. Dickinson has a grant from the U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women.
I don’t really care about all this, I just want to get together with other people and have fun.
Awesome. We host weekly lunch
discussions and co-host monthly Ladies’ Nights (open to all). We also offer a transcript notation internship
program, volunteer opportunities, and special events. Stop by Landis House or get on our email
list, Facebook, or webpage to find out more.
The Women’s Center makes me a little nervous.
That’s understandable—there are a lot of myths out there about Women’s
Centers and feminism in general, and in a way, the Women’s Center does offer a
challenge to conventional wisdom. If
you’re uncomfortable with the Center, come check it out, or ask somebody you
know who knows somebody who is involved to tell you a little bit about it. We don’t bite (at least, the staff