About Us

Students attending an event at the Women's Center

Our Mission

The mission of the Tufts University Women's Center is to advance the personal growth and intellectual development of all students particularly on issues related to women and gender, identity, and social justice. We are committed to intersectional feminism, fostering student leadership, and helping students identify and understand societal structures that relate to issues of power, privilege, and oppression. In this pursuit, the center offers programming, advising, information, and resources about the gender identity and expression that are informed by other aspects of identity such as race and ethnicity, sexual identity, and socioeconomic class.

The Center's director is available to students of all genders and identities for academic and personal advising related to gender and identity, academic majors, and career as well as questions related to transitioning to college, identity formation, and development, always taking into account individual differences.

Our Goals
  • For every student to be successful in their academic pursuits and in their development as maturing adults
  • To encourage the personal growth and development of students, particularly as they relate to gender identity and expression and intersectional identity in society
  • To help students identify societal structures that support and lead to inequities that are based on gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and/ or other identities
  • To help students explore the ways in which sexism, misogyny, transmisogyny, heterosexism, and gender and heteronormativity have historically marginalized women-identified and transgender people as well as impacted people of all gender identities and expressions
  • To help students understand the ways in which the policing of gender and gender-based discrimination and violence are inherently linked to other systems of power and oppression such as white privilege, racism, heterosexual privilege, and queerphobia.
  • To educate the Tufts community more broadly about specific issues and inequities related to gender and intersectional identity at Tufts and beyond
  • To provide opportunities for students to develop and practice skills that would be useful to them in working for social change and social justice
  • To serve as a resource to provide support and counseling for those who request it
  • To support committees, policy development, and administrators or advocates dealing with gender and identity-based issues and conflicts
Statement of Respect

Tufts students, faculty, and staff of all genders and identities are welcome at the Tufts University Women's Center.

What is asked of you to enter the space is:

  • Openness to the fact that gender discrimination, sexism, and misogyny are historical and lived realities that continue to exist and impact each of our lives; recognition that this impacts people to varying degrees and at the intersections of our other identities
  • No one can guarantee a completely safe space based on identities such as gender, race, or sexual identity. For example, we cannot guarantee that in a room full of female-identified people that sexism, racism, queerphobia, and/ or classism will not exist. Nor can we assume that a male-identified person will make a space unsafe for all women or that a man has not also been impacted by gender norms and/or gender-based violence.
  • While the Tufts Women's Center cannot completely guarantee a "safe space" for women and all people, we can ask that all who enter be mindful of issues related to identity and social justice such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and citizenship; we further expect that you be thoughtful in the words that you choose to use and the ways in which you participate. We also ask that people be mindful of the ways in which, traditionally, men and women (as well as other social identity groups) have been socialized to take up more space and take up less space, respectively, and engage in ways that create space for all to participate equally.
  • The Director of the Women's Center also believes that until all people, regardless of gender, can start having open and honest dialogue about gender and work together to unlearn gender as we have been taught it, none of us will be truly liberated from gender oppression. Because of this, conversations are encouraged across gender and programming is not gender exclusive.
  • The Women's Center also asks that you refrain from using words that have historically targeted and dehumanized marginalized groups, including words used against women, people of color, and LGBTQ folk.

Moving Beyond Respect

While respect is important in the effort to broaden the ways that we think about gender and identity and in our efforts to achieve true equality and inclusion, it is only the first step. For example, not using a sexist, misogynistic word is a necessary first step, but does not address why the words are problematic in the first place. The Women's Center strives to bring the community into conversations that go beyond respect to discussions about gender and identity that help each person understand how gender and other categories of identity impact their own lives. Our programs and services ask each of us to understand how working together for positive change benefits everyone, not just those marginalized by and most often labeled as "different" by our current structures.

As Dean Spade says in his essay "Once More...With Feeling," respect is often just a euphemism for tolerance, a false sense that we have done our part to "deal" with difference, when in fact we have not. He writes:

"Though there is a respect problem and it does in fact make the space unsafe for trans people, this approach individualizes the problem to trans people. When I hear non-trans people say that I should be called by the pronoun I choose as a matter of respecting my choice, it borders on a tolerance argument. As if trans people are somehow different people, and when they come around you should respect their difference, but do no more. This lines up with a view that all 'different' people, whether disabled, old, immigrant, of color, trans, gay, etc., should be 'respected' by calling them what they want, but that the fundamental fact of their difference and of the existence of a norm should not be analyzed...I'm not hoping that people will see that I'm different, paste a fake smile on their faces and force themselves to say some word without thought. I'm hoping that they will feel implicated, that it will make them think about the realness of everyone's gender, that it will make them feel more like they can do whatever they want with their gender, or at least cause a pause where one normally would not exist" (Diamond, M., 2004, p 97).

The Women's Center asks that we demonstrate true and conscious respect for one another; that we engage in critical and productive dialogue; and that we take active steps towards positive change within ourselves and in the world.

photostrip: Students at the Women's Center