Rose-Marie Avin (she/her/hers) and Jackie Buttafuoco (she/her/hers) of UW-Eau Claire
PROJECT: Intersectional Womxn Center at UWEC
WHY: Gender Equity through Inclusion and Representation
System-wide changes to the culture and climate of sexism, racism, and misogyny at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) are necessary for gender and racial justice. We believe that, although womxn are a majority on our campus, they are still institutionally marginalized and face gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence. For womxn students and faculty of color in particular, experiences of sexism and misogyny often intersect with those of racism and xenophobia. This evidences the need for an Intersectional Womxn’s Center that represents and provides a supportive community space for the diverse population of womxn at UWEC.
Given that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity is a “top priority” for UWEC, the goal of this project is consistent with UWEC’s commitment “to creating a campus that is open, supportive and focused on dismantling racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia” (https://www.uwec.edu/diversity/). The project is also consistent with the mission of the university to create “an inclusive campus community that challenges students to develop their intellectual, personal, cultural, and social competencies” (https://www.uwec.edu/acadaff/university-mission/)
WHY IS THE CENTER ANTI-RACIST? To fully understand and transform the power dynamics that marginalize womxn at UWEC, we must examine the role of racism in acts of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence.
- Programming based on educational and decolonizing gender content
- producing educational, decolonizing gender content that is attuned to the intersections of sexism and misogyny with racism and other systems of oppression (e.g. xenophobia, ageism, transphobia, ableism, homophobia, classism).
- producing programming that will relate the concepts and case studies of this educational content to the particular intersections affecting womxn of color at UWEC.
- Students exploring their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities through readings and conversations
- Students sharing their lived experiences at a predominantly white campus community
- “Through the creation of a supportive community of womxn, students will have the ability to explore their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities, share lived experiences, and discuss what it means to be womxn of color in our predominantly white campus community” (Women’s Resource and Action Center, the University of Iowa).
- Organizing for a transformative campus experience
- Build a cohort of students that have an intersectional understanding of systemic oppressions and a critical vocabulary to describe how these systems specifically affect womxn at
- Create a “critical mass” of students, faculty, and staff to help justify and assist in efforts to claim the physical space of an Intersectional Womxn’s Center at UWEC where continued, high-impact programming can continue once campus resumes in-person
WHAT: Creation of a safe place for community building: An Intersectional Womxn’s Center