“How can a man benefit from a women’s center?”
These are just a couple questions the Women’s Center staff at UMKC receives from men who walk into our office. We are constantly asked these questions because there seems to be a perception that men are not welcome in the Women’s Center or that the programs and services that we offer don’t have anything to do with them. Could it be the name “Women’s Center” that deters men, or is it, perhaps, a certain chauvinism that makes men feel that they don’t need to be concerned about woman’s issues?
Here at the UMKC Women’s Center, our mission is to advocate, educate and provide support services for the advancement of women’s equity on campus and within the community at large. Although our primary concern focuses on women’s issues and the ongoing struggle for women’s equality, the center is also a place for advocacy, education, and support for both men and women who want to better understand gender issues.
Whether men know it or not, they can be a great asset to raising awareness for ongoing issues such as sexism, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other inequalities women endure on a daily basis. Men too can have the power to help put an end to these issues. Besides being educated about issues like sexual assault, men can also take part in our events such as “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes”, or “Take Back the Night”, which are two of our events aimed at ending sexual and domestic violence.
So men, we do need your presence in the Women’s Center. Women’s issues do impact you. Think about it this way when you are questioning the importance of such a place to you: any of these issues like dating violence, could affect your spouse, girlfriend, mother, sister, niece, aunt, or cousin whom you love. Each and every day these women you care about are struggling to make their presence more prevalent in society, to gain equality, and to feel safe. With your help and your knowledge, there is another voice that has to be heard, and not just any voice, but the voice of a man who agrees with women’s issues and women’s equality. If men continue to ignore such problems, then women will continue to face tribulations and endure not being heard by society. Men, we need you to continue to raise more awareness about women’s issues. After all, women will always be a part of your life.