A new women's center at Wake Forest University will focus on issues facing students on campus and in the community.
Wake Forest University launched the new women's center on campus in January. The women's center at Wake Forest University grew out of decades on conversation by university officials and staff to expand diversity and inclusion on campus.
“The women's center is here to connect women to each other and to programs and resources available. Its also to to raise awareness about women's issues and gender on campus, to think critically about how gender is important to the holistic development of the individual, personally, socially, professionally, academically,” said Paige Meltzer, director of the center.
Meltzer, who comes to Wake Forest from Harvard, is a women's historian by training. She says she wants to focus on several issues including family leave policies and equal pay for women in the workplace.
“Women's issues aren't just for women. They are broadly about gender equity, so for example, when we discuss parental leave, that's something that has positive impacts for men on campus as well,” said Meltzer.
The center is currently housed a small lounge area on the first floor of Reynolda Hall. Meltzer says she's been busy meeting with faculty, staff and students across campus to discuss their concerns.
“There is always room for improvement. I'm interested in thinking more about family leave policies, something that I have a policy background in. I really want to be working with students to think about what their post graduate options are. We have an amazing office of personal and career development center here and I think there is a lot of opportunity for growth,” said Meltzer.
Last year, Amy Shackelford, a junior at Wake Forest majoring in Communication and Women's and Gender studies joined an organization on campus called Gender Equality Allies. She says the center will play a big role for students on campus.
“It's speaks volumes about the values of the university. We felt like our organization, Gender Equality Allies was the only medium to talk about specifically body image on campus, and so now there is an entire office on campus devoted to talking about these issues, which is a huge step on the campus,” says Shackelford.
Meltzer says she also plans to work with community organizations to continue the discussion on women's issues outside of campus.