Why We Still Need the Women's Movement (and Women's Centers)

When I tell people what I do for a living, I’m often asked why universities still need women’s centers. After all, they tell me, women are equal now, and so an office dedicated to advancing women’s equality seems out-of-date, as unnecessary as the larger women’s movement that caused the founding of campus women’s centers.

So, here’s my answer: in a world where

  • women earn an average of 77 cents to a man’s dollar;
  • 1 in 4 college women are victims of rape or attempted rape;
  • college women experience a “confidence gap” compared to men;
  • pregnant women and mothers routinely experience job discrimination;
  • and internet groups dedicated to repealing the 19th amendment (the one that gave women the right to vote) exist (yes, most of them are indeed serious),

how could I not believe we still need a movement to advance women’s equality? And yes, that includes working with and supporting men in that effort. The answer to the question “Are men welcome in the Women’s Center?” is an enthusiastic yes–we can’t do it without you!

So, readers, what do you all think? Why is the women’s movement still needed? How will you support it? Provide your answers in the comments (just keep it friendly–remember heated discussion is good; name-calling is bad). And we hope to see you in our virtual and physical spaces this upcoming year–remember, the Women’s Center is here to serve you, so take advantage of our resources, services, and programs!

Brenda Bethman
Director, UMKC Women’s Center