Formerly the Women's Resource Center, the Gender Equity Resource Center's evolution spans three decades and is a reflection of the sustained commitment of women faculty, staff, students and alumnae.
In the 1960's, members of the Prytanean Alumnae Association played a key role in convincing the University of the need to establish a center to support women's educational goals and career aspirations. The Center was officially established in October 1972 as The Center for The Continuing Education Of Women after nearly a decade of discussion and advocacy. The Women's Faculty Club provided space for the Center and the Prytanean Alumnae Association raised $20,000 to provide the Center's initial funding. The Center's first Director, Anthropology Professor May Diaz, termed the Center a "visible welcome sign to women who wish to return to higher education."
By 1980, the Center's role as a catalyst for expanding women's educational opportunities was reflected in a new name, The Center for the Study, Education and Advancement of Women. Under the direction of African American Studies Professor Margaret Wilkerson, the Center received research grants, sponsored campus-wide research conferences and promoted the development of feminist scholarship and research skills. Faculty, staff and student advocacy efforts during the 1980's culminated in a commitment from the University to support the full development of Women's Programs in each area of the campus mission: teaching, research and service. These efforts led to the creation of the Beatrice Bain Research Group on Women and Gender, named in memory of the Women's Center's first Associate Director, and to the establishment of the Women's Studies Department.
Throughout the 1990's, the Women's Resource Center played an integral part in the campus' student service mission by offering students a variety of support services and leadership opportunities. As one of nine women's centers in the UC system, the Berkeley Women's Center continues to act as a catalyst for change, providing a "visible sign" of Berkeley's responsiveness to the emerging needs of women students into the next millennium.
The Women’s Resource Center, underwent its name change to the Gender Equity Resource Center in 1999, in order to recognize the changing populations that were being served at the Center as well as to acknowledge its shift in educational philosophy. GenEq now serves not only women but also the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We focus the scope of our work on gender, sexual orientation, and their intersections.
History of LGBT Programs & Services
LGBT Programs & Services began in the fall of 1997 as a result of recommendations made by the LGBT Campus Advisory Committee, the University of California LGBTI Association, The Queer Resource Center (QRC) as well as many other students, faculty and staff. In the spring of 1999 the university committed resources to allow for full time staffing of the program. Today there are LGBTIQ resource centers on each of the nine University of California campuses.