University Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity

The University Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity (UCW) has diverse membership from across the Iowa State University campus. UCW is an active and involved committee that works to advance gender equity within the university community. Included in our purview is: increasing gender equity in leadership positions; eliminating barriers and addressing organizational structures and policies that act as impediments to gender equity; and working to improve the climate on campus with regard to gender equity for all students, staff, and faculty.

Iowa State Campus Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity
Solidarity Statement

June 2020

In our nation and at protests in countries across the world, hundreds of organizations and millions of individual voices are speaking out against white supremacy, oppression, and systemic injustices. The murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Rem’Mie Fells, and many others have disrupted the widespread denial of the pervasive culture of hatred and oppression.

As members of the Iowa State University Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity, we add our voices to this myriad of allies with this declaration of solidarity and support; a necessary action, but one we know is not sufficient without implementing action steps
to mitigate these injustices.

We acknowledge that feminism has a storied history of apathy and ignorance toward people of color. Feminism without racial justice is not progress.
We condemn all violence toward the Black community and mourn the loss of precious Black lives. We mourn for Black trans womxn who fall victim to a disproportionate amount of fatal violence toward transgender and gender non-conforming people.

We recognize that womxn of color bear an inordinate burden of performing emotional labor on behalf of their gender as well as their race. They are tasked with carrying the weight of worry for their partners, children, family, friends, and neighbors, while being held to unspoken, evermoving
standards in their personal and professional lives.

We know that the work to be done right now cannot be carried by the Black community alone. It is up to all of us to move through the stages to become anti-racist: awareness, education, self interrogation, and community action.

In our own committee, primarily comprised of white women, we have long asked ourselves “how can we include people of color in our work?” Our conversations these past two weeks have shifted from complacency to recognition of how we have failed to devote significant energy to
making room for diversity. We have done little to show that we are trustworthy. We have asked people of color to labor on our behalf, to share what they have without sharing our privilege.
That ends now.

From this day on, we ask a different question: How can we uplift, amplify, and include the people of color already doing this work?

We begin by identifying specific actions we will take as a committee and as individuals:

1. Intentionally create space on our committee for Black representation. This includes selfeducation and introspection of our processes, then recruiting, welcoming, and affirming new members and taking their lead especially on matters of race. We pledge to listen
more than we speak.

2. Use our position at the University to advocate for Black womxn during discussions of policy and everyday university operations (e.g. inclusivity training, promotion & tenure, award recognition, etc.).

3. Promote Black feminists in our programming. Cite Black feminist scholars. Host Black speakers and workshop facilitators. Seek out Black stories to highlight in the upcoming Status on Womxn and Gender Equity dashboard.


To our Black colleagues, we say: You matter. Your lives matter. Your work matters. Your history matters. Your stories matter. Thank you for teaching us about transgressions you experience at this University and in our communities. From this point forward, we advocate for change with you. We stand with you. We will become better allies.

To our non-Black colleagues, we urge you to examine your own role in reinforcing white supremacy, no matter where you are at on your journey to anti-racism. Among the vast resources online, we encourage you start with this guide, created by Victoria Alexander, M.Ed:


Mission, Goals and History

Mission Statement

The UCW works directly with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion to promote a university climate that fosters the full participation of faculty, staff and students to increase diversity by advancing gender equity. The primary focus of UCW is to address those policies and practices that are inequitable with regard to gender in the Iowa State University community.


The goals of the UCW include (but are not limited to): 

  • Represent the interests and concerns of all genders in the university community by promoting a supportive learning and working environment.
  • Provide input to Administration through a gender equity lens.
  • Assist in mentoring and networking opportunities to facilitate gender equity across the university.
  • Monitor and inform the institution's performance with regard to representation and advancement of all genders.
  • Advocate for the development of policies and practices that promote the equitable participation and treatment of employees and students.
  • Participate in recruitment and selection processes for leadership positions.

History (pdf)


Executive Committee

Virginia Hanson, chair
Ruxandra Marcu, vice chair
Melissa Miller, past chair


Scheduled Meetings


November 22, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3512 Memorial Union

December 13, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3512 Memorial Union

January 24, 2020
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3512 Memorial Union

February 21, 2020
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3512 Memorial Union

March 27, 2020
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3512 Memorial Union

April 17, 2020
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3512 Memorial Union