The MU Women’s Center welcomes students, staff, faculty and members of our local community. The Center provides opportunities for learning, service and support for those who seek to further their understanding of social justice. No matter if you are looking for a place to lounge, to attend programs, to borrow a book or grab some free candy, the WC is a space where you can find your place. Our Center is not a woman-only space–it is open to everyone regardless of gender identity.
The Women’s Center started with a group of dedicated students, staff and faculty, including the Association of Women Students (a women driven student government similar to MSA). In 1975 the Women’s Center’s doors first opened in 1 Gentry Hall with Gail Ginder serving as the first Director. The first Center programming calendar was printed in the Winter/Spring semester of ’75. It included: weekly lunchbag seminars such as The Gay Woman: Who Is She?, Women and Anger and Female Sexuality; discussion groups including career exploration and assertion training; short courses in Modern Dance and Herstory; programming geared specifically for women who returned to school after some time away; a writer’s group and so much more. In addition to programming the Women’s Center provided one of the first safe spaces for women* on the University of Missouri’s campus.
In Fall 1987 the Center moved to 229 Brady Commons, where it resided for 21 years. During this time programs such as The Vagina Monologues, Love Your Body Programming, the Social Justice Seder and a continuation of original women-focused* programs thrived with student and campus support. In August 1997, a Women’ s Center Graduate Student founded the Language Partners Program, which still functions in pairing native English-speakers with non-native English speakers for a cultural and language exchange. In Fall 2002, Feminist Student Union, or FSU, was founded and is advised by the WC.
In the Fall of 2008 the Women’s Center moved to 214 Memorial Union North during the Brady Commons construction, and created The Center for Social Justice, along with the Multicultural Center, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the RSVP Center. To keep up with the times and stay connected with our students and alumnae, in 2007, we began joining Facebook, youTube, Librarything, Twitter, Pinterest, updating our website, and creating a newsletter and alumnae listserv. We launched our brand new website in 2009 and released our new logo.
In the Fall of 2010, the Ms. Zou Series was founded to continue to provide Mizzou women with programming to supplement their self-sufficient skills. As we searched old calendars we saw the amazing programming that allowed women a space to delve into specific skills that may have never been offered to young girls and women. We also realized that as busy as Mizzou women are these days that we needed to be providing more programming that allowed our students to leave with a new skill in a small amount of time. The Ms. Zou series is ‘By Mizzou Women For Mizzou Women’ and has included programs such as money management, car care, self-care and web design. We’re excited to bring back this hands-on programming that has a rich herstory at the Women’s Center.
On January 6th, 2011 we moved to G108 MU Student Center where Brady Commons once stood.
In Spring of 2012, the WC launched the Mr. Zou Series with the help of our Masculinity Programming Coordinator, Patrick Randolph. Mr. Zou, modeled after the Ms. Zou Series, is aimed at teaching men skills that historically have not been taught to them as well as programs about masculinity and what it means to be “a man at Mizzou.”
The WC continues to provide advising, support and a meeting space to student orgs and programs, such as AAUW, Fluffy GRL Summit & Fundamental Firsts. The space is ever-evolving to create safe spaces for all our tiger family. We look forward to creating more herstory here at Mizzou.
*We serve women, transgender, men and gender non-conforming persons. Women’s Centers historically grew out of a need for women to have spaces and services that were previously unavailable.