At the center of our endeavors is advocacy for gender equality. As part of our strategic planning process in 2000, we surveyed Northwestern women to determine what they needed most. In the years since, we continue to ask our constituents about their needs. The following issues have emerged as high priorities:
As a result of the research, the Women’s Center has been involved in the following initiatives:
Northwestern departments and individuals who are dedicated to issues of sexual violence (sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking) created the Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence (CCSV). From its inception, the Women’s Center has been a catalyst in confronting these concerns.
The Center for Public Integrity conducted a nine-month investigation of U.S. universities and found a “culture of secrecy” and a “culture of indifference” around sexual assault that hindered reporting and appropriate responses at universities throughout the U.S. The CCSV is engaged in a multi-year effort to examine our systemic structure and response modalities, and to suggest how we can improve.
The coalition uses the collaborative efforts of University groups, student groups and external agencies, including: Sexual Health Education & Violence Prevention, Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, University Police, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, University Residential Life, Rainbow Alliance, College Feminists, Men Against Rape & Sexual Assault (MARS), Evanston Victim Services Program, Evanston Police Department, Porchlight Counseling Services, the YWCA of Evanston/North Shore, Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), and the Center on Halsted.
The Women’s Center presents yearly programs that seek to address a universal concern for women and men: the difficulty in constructing work/life balance in a manner that promotes work productivity, fulfills career and professional expectations, family responsibilities, health, and maintains a semblance of stress management.
Many women are also faced with challenges surrounding the “sandwich generation,” who face responsibilities in the raising of their children while simultaneously facing eldercare responsibilities.
Our constituents inform us that their work lives seem to have become geometrically more demanding, often taking even more time from the personal domain. The Women’s Center has embarked upon a series of programs and co-sponsorships, particularly with the Office of Work/Life Resources, designed to address this pressing concern.