It's 75 years later, and one of the oldest student services established at the university is celebrating its long tradition of serving the needs of women students and welcoming them to the campus community.
The office, known today as the Women Students' Office (WSO), has undergone name changes since its inception, and the scope of its responsibilities has grown dramatically. But one thing remains the same: its commitment to creating a safe and equitable environment for all women at UBC.
Originally limited to counselling women students, the WSO now offers individual advocacy, feminist counselling, the Mentoring Program for Women of Colour, the Safer Campus Workshops, the Clothesline Project and practicum and volunteer placements.
In 1975, which was International Women's Year, only 24 per cent of the total undergraduate student body at UBC was female.
Today, more than half of UBC's undergraduate students and graduate students enrolled in master's programs are women. Women also comprise approximately 50 per cent of the enrolment in the faculties of medicine, science and pharmaceutical sciences.
Also celebrating milestones this year are the Women's Studies Program, established 25 years ago, and the Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations, marking its fifth birthday.
Announced with little fanfare as a three-paragraph item in the Sept. 7, 1971 issue of UBC Reports, women's studies began as a 20-lecture series, funded by a federal government grant. Called, The Canadian Woman: Our Story, the non-credit, interdisciplinary series featured students, UBC faculty and community experts delivering lectures followed by small group discussions. The fee for the complete series was $2.
Exactly 20 years later, UBC students could earn a BA majoring in Women's Studies.
The creation of the Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations was front page news in UBC Reports on July 18, 1991.
Under the direction of Veronica Strong-Boag, the centre strives to strengthen and increase scholarship in the areas of women's studies and gender relations, promotes interdisciplinary research in graduate education and serves as a community resource.
To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the centre will host a one-day conference focusing on the special concerns of children around the world, particularly female children.
Stephen Lewis, the deputy director of external relations for UNICEF, will deliver the keynote address titled Our World's Children: The Meaning of Gender on Fri. Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the George Curtis Building, Room 101, Faculty of Law. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 822-9171.
Festivities are also being planned by the WSO and Women's Studies Program during UBC's Homecoming Week, Oct. 17 - 20. A limited edition of t-shirts, coffee mugs and book bags featuring Coast Salish artist Susan Point's Free Spirit are currently on sale at the UBC Bookstore to commemorate the anniversaries. Call the WSO at 822-2415 for details.