We're Here for You
You belong here, in all aspects of your identity. We welcome everyone, regardless of gender.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does the Women’s Center provide medical care?
No, the Women’s Center is not part of the UVA Health System and does not offer gynecological or medical services.
- So what does the Women's Center actually do?
The Women’s Center is a vital hub of resources and opportunities on Grounds. We work every day at the intersection of social justice issues that affect people everywhere especially our students, faculty and staff on Grounds, our neighbors and friends in Charlottesville.
When you are in need of extra support, we offer free and flexible counseling, as well as digital resources to help you address the problems you’re facing. We’re here, as well, for those who have a friend or loved one in need and are looking for guidance on how to best support them. We have the tools and expertise to help you feel empowered in your life, or in helping others.
Just as importantly, we offer a number of year-long engaged scholarship programs that provide undergraduate students with opportunities to pair classroom study with practical work. Our internship program is an engaged scholarship program that develops women leaders (and the men who work with them!) by partnering students with a staff mentor to work closely with. We also manage two community mentorship programs - the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) and the Men's Leadership Project (MLP) - through which undergraduate students study adolescent development with Education School faculty while serving as a mentor to a middle school student in the local community. Through all of these programs, students prepare for careers in a variety of fields and for service in the communities where they will live and work throughout their lives.
- Who does the Women's Center serve?
The Women’s Center serves students and the University as a whole, as well as the greater Charlottesville community we call home. We believe that we do our best work when our team and the communities we actively serve are inclusive of people with different backgrounds, beliefs, ages, identities, ethnicities, and worldviews.
Our services and opportunities for UVA students can be found throughout this site. Many of our counseling services, workshops and trainings, events, engaged scholarship opportunities, and information resources are aimed at students from all of UVA's schools.
We encourage UVA faculty and staff to be aware of the many resources and opportunities here for students you know who need extra support or are ready for leadership opportunities. But if you are a University employee, you'll want to know more about the counseling, training, and legal clinic services we offer for you, too. You will also find relevant publications among our information resources and lots of inspiration for every stage of your career in the coverage of women around Grounds on our blog.
For our friends in the Charlottesville community beyond UVA Grounds, get to know the counseling services, legal clinic, and information resources we offer for you.
- Are men welcome at the Women's Center?
We get it. The name on the door can seem a bit daunting to anyone who doesn’t identify as a woman. Men are not only welcome at the Women’s Center, but an important part of our team. Everything we offer, from counseling services to internship opportunities, is available to EVERYONE, including men.
Having ‘Women’ in our name is a reflection of the current gender inequities that trouble our society and a nod to our history. But it doesn’t mean men have no place in this space. It isn’t only women who are affected by body image issues, whose lives may be constrained by gender expectations, or who suffer the impact of sexual assault. Likewise, it isn’t only women who are served by the Women’s Center: the Women’s Center also benefits everyone who is concerned about body image, who wants to explore healthy models of masculinity, and who knows that sexual assault impacts everyone. All are welcome at the Women’s Center as seekers of our services and as allies in our work to bring about gender justice on Grounds and across the world.
- How is the Women’s Center part of the University of Virginia?
The Women’s Center is one of many centers, offices and institutes that come together with the University’s 12 schools to make UVA a distinctive place for education, research, and public service. Along with UVA’s libraries, museums, and other academically-related offices, we fall under the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost in the University’s structure.
Our anti-racist and feminist work for social justice is built on these pillars:
- diversity & inclusion
- equity & equality
- compassion & solidarity
Community Care and Wellness
Nurturing a well environment that supports and cares for our community starts with committing to self-attunement and self-preservation through radical self-care practices. Living out this value supports resilience, builds self-compassion, and cultivates trust to foster a sense of safety and belonging for our community members.
Professional Excellence and Mentorship
We bring expertise to our work and uphold the highest professional standards. We are committed to reciprocal learning with the students who choose to join us in the Center’s experiential learning opportunities. We share our knowledge - implicitly and explicitly - with them. Recognizing and honoring the expertise that they bring, we look to learn from them as well.
Both in how we do our work and in what we do as our work, the ultimate goal of all that we offer at the Women’s Center is holistic leadership undertaken with an anti-racist and racially-aware stance. Inspired by Robert Greenleaf’s concept of servant leadership, we aspire to embody leadership concerned with the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. This approach calls us to nurture a brave environment that empowers all of us – staff, interns, clients – to teach and learn from each other. Our community supports the growth that comes from stretching comfort levels, taking on stewardship responsibilities, and engaging in difficult conversations. We are committed to modeling compassionate leadership that stands as an alternative to the currently prevailing, power-driven form of leadership offered as the dominant model for emulation. Our model of leadership incorporates our core values with a focus on stewardship of resources and service to others.
To serve students and the University as a whole by:
- Fostering the respect, safety, and dignity of women and girls
- Developing leadership and compassion through academic community engagement
- Building powerful partnerships for social change
- Working for gender justice on Grounds and across the globe, and celebrating those who join us
Our Approach to Diversity
A diverse University of Virginia community provides every member respect and a safe place for understanding our differences as well as our likenesses. Fostering the safety, dignity, and respect of women and girls is central to the mission of the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. We believe that an environment that welcomes and supports people of different backgrounds, beliefs, ages, identities, ethnicities, and worldviews best accomplishes these goals. At the Women’s Center, we actively engage in discussions about social change and bias, challenging our assumptions and exchanging ideas. We invite others to join us in these discussions at our events, in our classes, and by social media.
Thousands of students petitioned the University to establish a Women’s Center in 1987. Two years later, the Women’s Center opened with Sharon Davie serving as director from 1989 through 2015. After 30 years serving the UVA community, we hold true to the founding vision for the center, which included fostering leadership, engaged scholarship, safety, and well-being. Today, we offer a number of services and opportunities, ranging from academic internships to counseling services, from materials to help you navigate difficult moments to public talks to inspire you.
In 2014, Maxine Platzer Lynn (Curry ’51) pledged an endowment to the Women’s Center to support its meaningful impact on the University. She describes her time at UVA as giving her “a great sense of community and of the importance of giving back.” She intends that her gift give today’s students the same opportunities by enabling the Women’s Center to continue its mentoring and outreach to all students, irrespective of gender.
Through the student leadership development and empowerment-based counseling we offer today, the Women’s Center contributes to the full flourishing of UVA’s students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Charlottesville community.