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Our “Why”

Why a Women’s Center?


We exist to center marginalized identities, cultivate inclusion and belonging, and advocate for equitable practices through research, education and action. 

Why Women’s Center?

Our name is a little misleading. While we are the Women's Center, that does not mean that we exclusively serve women. The Women's Center was created to center the needs of the entire campus community and to be open to all students, faculty, and staff who want to think about the ways in which gender intersects and impacts our lives. We continue to advocate for women while applying an intersectional, anti-oppression framework to all marginalized identities in need of equal belonging and equitable access through the institution.  

Is it time for a name change? 

We think so! People with marginalized gender identities have historically experienced, and in many cases continue to experience, discrimination in areas such as representation and employment and salary equity and it's limiting to operate with a gender binary of women and men. The services that the Women’s Center supports need to continue and we need to walk alongside all genders and marginalized communities who have had to fight for some of these rights at the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

Why Get Involved?

 If you are a faculty, student or staff member committed to lifelong learning and advocacy that celebrates lived difference and the innate dignity of all people you are in the right place!

  • If you are here to champion equitable practice and policy change, check out our research initiatives.
  •  If you are here to participate in trainings and programming that support inclusive practices through an anti-oppression, intersectional framework, check out our educational initiatives.
  •  If you are interested in advocacy for marginalized communities on campus through professional development, caregiving spectrum support, and in the community through service learning, check out our action initiatives. 
  • If you are interested in utilizing our space for studying, meetings or gatherings, come see us in Alumni Hall 2nd floor! 

Read below for defining frameworks that guide our work!

The two theories that guide our research, education and action are Intersectionality and Anti-Oppression. The definitions below are taken from Simmons University Lib Guides.

Visit the Simmons LibGuide webpage on Anti-Oppression (url link in the paragraph above) for video content on these definitions as well as complimentary content related to anti-oppression theory. 


Intersectionality is a legal and sociological theory that promotes the understanding that individuals have multiple identity factors and are "shaped by the interactions and intersections of these different social [identity factors] (e.g., race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, (dis)ability, migration status, religion, etc.)" [from Intersectionality 101 course]. This means that inequities do not result from the social devaluing of a single identity factor in isolation, but rather from the intersections of different parts of an individual's identity, power relations, and experience. 

Black legal scholar Kimberlyé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in her 1989 essay, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” (url link to article) which argues that marginalization and discrimination experienced by a black woman cannot be understood in terms of racism or of sexism considered independently, but must include the interactions. Since its coinage, the concept has been expanded to describe experiences outside of black womanhood, and the general concept is that people experience more than one type of oppression because of their intersecting marginalized identities. The concept of intersectionality is not an abstract idea but a description of the way multiple oppressions are experienced by actual people.

Anti-oppression movements and work must acknowledge and account for intersectional experiences of systemic oppression in order to be both fully inclusive and effective in dismantling systemic barriers to equity.

Anti Oppression 

Anti-Oppression is the strategies, theories, actions and practices that actively challenge systems of oppression on an ongoing basis in one's daily life and in social justice/change work. Anti-oppression work seeks to recognize the oppression that exists in our society and attempts to mitigate its effects and eventually equalize the power imbalance in our communities. Oppression operates at different levels (from individual to institutional to cultural) and so anti-oppression must as well.

Though they go hand in hand, anti-oppression is not the same as diversity & inclusion. Diversity & Inclusion (which are defined in another tab) have to do with the acknowledgment, valuing, and celebration of difference, whereas Anti-Oppression challenges the systemic biases that devalue and marginalize difference. Diversity & Inclusion and Anti-Oppression are two sides of the same coin--one doesn't work without the other--but they are not interchangeable.

Alumni Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0322