Welcome back and happy New Year!

January 23, 2014


The beginning of a new semester, and a new year, is always an exciting time full of possibilities and new plans. We’ve been very busy expanding programs, building new programs, and creating an exciting selection of activities for you. It is also a great time to reflect on successes and lessons learned, and to say goodbye to people who continue their journeys elsewhere and welcome new people into our community.

UNM took a huge step toward helping students dealing with sexual violence this past year. We were proud to cofound, with UNMPD, the new Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). UNMPD Chief Kathy Guimond and I serve as co-chairs of the steering committee. The effort has the full support of President Frank and is off to a great start. Please keep in mind that the number of reports may go up and that is actually a good thing; it means we are doing a good job of reaching out to students who need us. After meeting for the first time last May, we have coordinated the team, services, and programs; created a website (sart.unm.edu) and distributed 5000 brochures.

Our Gendered Violence Prevention Program (GVPP) graduate assistant, Angela Catena, has also coordinated and facilitated several prevention trainings and presentations. She was also selected for the inaugural Campus Leaders Fellowship with Futures Without Violence “to spur creative, student-led action to change university policy, enhance curriculum, raise awareness and shift campus culture around dating violence, domestic violence and the connection to sexual assault, and reproductive coercion.” As one of just 12 graduate students across the country, collaborating with this exceptional team of people strengthens Angela’s work with GVPP.

Our own Sarah Crawford, mentoring and leadership program assistant, was selected as one of 10 students in the country to hold a position on the American Association of University (AAUW) Women National Student Advisory Council. This national leadership position gives Sarah the opportunity to serve as AAUW ambassador, advise AAUW staff on the needs of college students, and lead gender equality projects on campus. The UNM WRC was also selected as one of 50 schools to host Elect Her: Campus Women Win, an AAUW program that teaches women how to run successful campaigns for student leadership positions in clubs, student government, and plants the seeds for future public service. We will also host the $tart $mart Salary Negotiation Workshop, an AAUW/WAGE Project effort to help young women negotiate the best salary and benefits package they can at the start of their careers.

The Impact Project: A Women’s Mentoring Program is taking applications until February 7. Mentees should be in their first year of school and mentors need to be sophomores on up to graduate school. The Lobo Women’s Council had its inaugural meeting last October with almost 40 interested women and male allies attending. Look for more leadership development opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and the community coming up! We are going to Lean In: LOBO STYLE! and take control of our financial destiny with a series of 5 presentations on women and money.

Susan Mbatudde-Gustafson, our program assistant for social media/marketing/website, is busy getting our newsletter back in production; it will be available online and via email. She is also handling all of our social media, marketing, writing for our wordpress blog and trying to get all of us to as well. If you’d like to contribute a blog post, let us know. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Help us congratulate Emily Hernandez, WRC office assistant, in completing her phlebotomy certificate. She is now working with Tri-Core and loving running all over UNMH in addition to working here. Our own Nate Armstrong, WRC office assistant, won his first two matches with first-round knockouts—way to go Nate!

We would like to thank Cathy Ahiyite, our Breast-feeding Support Program (BFSP) assistant, for working so hard to expand the program. We now have a new location in UNMH and one in Carrie Tingley Hospital; that brings the total to 12 rooms around campus for lactating moms to use! Cathy is entering her last semester of student teaching before she graduates in May—we wish her all the best! Medical student, Kate Rooney, will take on the leadership role and will be working to expand the program even more. The BFSP will now be housed under our new Women’s Health Education Program and will offer a wide range of activities and presentations about all aspects of our health.

The WRC also welcomes Addie Gillespie, Devon Rosenkoetter, and LaToya Lozoya to our team as office assistants and our interns Alice, Garrett, Thomarita and Fran. We are happy to have their smiling faces and great skills in our center. We also welcome our counseling interns: Arianna, Deanna, Moriah and Sarah! Including Angela, that’s 5 counselors to offer FREE counseling at the WRC this semester! They are planning some great group experiences too, so check out the website for info.

We are taking applications for the Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship until January 31—tell all of your single mom friends! We are also planning new programming for WOMEN in STEM and expanding our programs for men and male allies. Does it sound like we’ve been busy? Yes, we have been. Last year, we had the privilege of making more than 61,000 contacts with our community. Let’s keep it growing—come by to get involved!

I’d like to officially welcome our Administrative Assistant III, Michele Navarrette. She started last spring and the phrase ‘hitting the ground running’ has never been so apropos. Michele has worked hard to learn a tremendous amount in a short time and is keeping our center on track and running smoothly. In addition to her work here, Michele quickly stepped into a leadership role by getting elected to Staff Council and she was accepted into the Management Academy! We are lucky to have her and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Michele’s arrival came with the retirement of our dear Carol Dolan, former Administrative Assistant III. Carol worked with the WRC for 23 years and over that time saw a lot of change on campus. We laughed, we cried, we supported a lot of students together and I’m grateful that I got to work with her! We all appreciate her dedication and service and we miss her. We wish her the happiest retirement possible!

There are so many ways to get involved with and to support the WRC. We gladly accept interns and field experience students. You can support us financially by making a donation to the WRC in general or to our Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship—just call to find out how. 

If you haven’t stopped by yet to see the new layout, furniture, computers, lockers, etc., come by soon to get a tour. Don’t forget, we always have coffee and tea, and condoms, candy, feminine hygiene products, and…a stash of chocolate. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Have a great semester!

~Your finally permanent WRC Director, Summer Little 




WRC makes blankets to benefit Albuquerque SANE

December 3, 2013

WRC’s Sarah and Alice making blankets.

IMG_5147Angela folding and prepping the blankets.

By Susan Mbatudde-Gustafson

The Women Resource Center (WRC) is putting the comfort back in the blanket this fall semester. Women Resource Center staff, students, and other University of New Mexico (UNM) community are making blankets at the center to benefit Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). SANE is local organization that collaborates to serve sexual assault and domestic violence victims by providing immediate, compassionate, culturally sensitive and comprehensive medical treatment and forensic evaluation by nurse experts.

According to Albuquerque SANE website, “one out of every five New Mexican women over 18 have been raped and one out of every 25 New Mexican men over 18 have been raped.  SANE is also part of the University of New Mexico’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a victim centered, victim controlled, coordinated response team, which was launched in August of 2013.

“Since SANE offers showers for victims to clean up after their exams, we figured toiletries would be helpful. In talking with SANE’s program director, Teresa D’Anza we learned that the organization could use some blankets and we saw this as a great opportunity for the WRC community to create something useful and comforting. It is also a great way to strengthen the relationship between the WRC and SANE,” said Angela Catena, MA, LMHC, WRC’s graduate program assistant, gendered violence prevention program.

The WRC is also holding a food drive to benefit Storehouse a local pantry here in Albuquerque that provides food and clothing to people who are struggling in our community. The food drive is an effort to give back to those in need while creating awareness about the food resources in our community.

Together, We Can “Have It All” – If We Want It

June 28, 2012

By AMBAR J. CALVILLO on June 26, 2012

Appearing on at least five of my news feeds last Wednesday, Ann Marie Slaughter’s article for Atlantic magazine, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, caused quite the stir.  It was emailed, and recommended to me by three friends before I had the courage to finish reading it. It was the title.  I was subconsciously afraid to read a well-written, very popular article, which in my mind, would include all of the reasons why women would be doomed forever. As soon as I was finished reading it I devoured countless responses from major media outlets, most written from women who declared to be proof that Slaughter was wrong.

Most of these reactions and responses missed the point, and I continue to blame the title.  This title, along with the message that the “feminist credo has failed women”, has revived a public antagonism between women.  As my director said over email: “let the ‘mommy wars’ continue”.   The spotlight, though, has been on the voices of the few privileged women who have tons of choices afforded to them.   The media is overwhelmingly saturated with responses from the quintessential ‘super-mom’ –– educated, wealthy, successfully employed (maybe self-employed), married, and with superb time-management skills.   I can see them, shaking their fingers and nodding their heads in disapproval at the idea that someone couldn’t manage to ‘have it all’ (or their version of it all to be precise).

Such as Kamenetz’s piece, “Yes, We Can Have It All – Here’s What It Takes” where she not only confesses to be part of the “oh-so small sector of the population; upper class educated women” who work, not because they have to, but because they want to. She then continues to include her nanny and husband as part of the equation to “having it all”.  Well…good for her.  Now, where is the representation of the million other single mothers, working two to three jobs, trying to afford childcare?  What happens when a nanny, husband, flexible or dependable work schedule are not a variable? What kind of standard are we setting for women? These responses are individual approaches to ways in which some women can make it work and “have it all”. We should be looking at the challenges that affect everyone (regardless of class, education, or type of family) and collectively look at ways in which all women and caregivers can decide what “having it all” means to them, and then having the opportunity to have it.

The major media outlets should take responsibility for setting up an “us vs. them” effect: those who think they have the magic equation to really “have it all”, and shaming those that are falling through the cracks.  Most of the cracks are set by employers and work environments that don’t value family.  It is not the “feminist credo” that has failed women, it is the policies and systems in place that have failed women.

Feminism, never promised things would be perfect.  As two friends discussed with me over lunch, feminism began so that women could have the choice to have a career, a family, and a chance to change what wasn’t working for them.  Feminism allows us to identify what it means for us to (ideally) “have it all” and then have an equal opportunity (and support systems) to chase it.  Like our sisters, leading the first wave feminist movement, we should stand together, not alone.

The issues, such as the underrepresentation of women as corporate executives and judicial leaders, which Slaughter discuses, are often framed as individual problems, but they are not.  The challenges keeping the leadership gap this way should be analyzed and discussed as a much-needed systemic overhaul.  We should work together to ensure our country provides the very basic policies that value working caregivers and their families.  If these policies were in place, women (and men) wouldn’t have to become a juggling act or superhuman mythical creature in order to have a career and care for a family.  Women and men should not have to worry about being punished at work, taking a demotion, or passing up great career opportunities because they are also working to succeed as family members.  The standard should be better, and they should work for the millions of people working everyday to survive and to “have something”.

Bravo describes the following policies we need NOW (not when a woman is elected president) in a Women’s Media Center post:

  • Paid sick days that protect jobs or paychecks for being a good mother and staying home with a sick child. Right now two in five workers lack even a single paid sick day, and nearly half of those who earn sick time can’t use it to care for a sick child.
  • Family leave for all workers to protect jobs for those with a new baby. Half the workforce is this country isn’t eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides that job protection.
  • Family leave insurance that would keep new mothers from being forced to rely on welfare and other public programs after giving birth. Today nearly half of women in the U.S. workforce do not receive a penny of pay during maternity leave—too often forcing their families into poverty. 
  • Equity for part-timers and predictable schedules so women don’t have to decide which bill will go unpaid because the work schedule changes from week to week, with very short notice and usually too few hours—or just enough shy of 40 to deny eligibility for benefits.

So what can we do?  Enter Andrea Paluso, Executive director of Family Forward Oregon, one of the organizations working to change the systems that are failing caregivers and families.  Family Forward’s vision is to have statewide policies that value the work of caring for loved ones, which every state could/should model.  It views this process as “critical to [the] social and economic health” and one that should not “jeopardize anyone’s job or long-term security”.  Family Forward Oregon (FFO) is an advocate to develop an “equal playing field” for everyone when it comes to universal policies that include “paid family leave, paid sick days, and affordable child care”.

“Whether it’s 16-month long maternity leave in Sweden or paid sick days in Japan, family-forward policies make economies more competitive — not less. The result is a more resilient, stable, and healthy workforce. The United States needs to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world.  As a grassroots organization, we mobilize parents to advocate for bold, universal policies that benefit ALL families. No matter how your family is configured, what type of work you do, or how much money you make, we know that we are all in this together”

Working to educate employers, parents, and policy makers is an important process everyone can be a part of to change systems, attitudes, and policies to support the success of all families and caregivers – so we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to define their own success and ‘have it all’.

June 11, 2012

“There’s no excuse…for women today not to own their own power and lead an unlimited life.” – Gloria Feldt

Forbes Women At Work Infographic

June 11, 2012

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Source: forbes.com via The White House Project on Pinterest

” title=”Forbes Women At Work Infographic”>Forbes Women At Work Infographic

Talking Leadership and Women

May 29, 2012

Welcome to Leading Mondays.

Leadership is for everyday, but I think starting the week with a leadership dose of inspiring-awesome-leading-women-spark-my-fiery-motivation type of blog is a good thing.

I’ll start by giving myself some street credit and assure you that reading Leading Mondays will be worth your time.  I studied Organizational and Corporate Communication as an undergraduate and minored in Graphic Design (to survive the PR world), but after some “A-HA” moments paired with academic rebellion, I changed my minor before my last semester to Women Studies.  Take that academic degree planning!  I graduated, a little exhausted, but acquired more of the courses I wanted to take, great professors as mentors, and more angst-y feminism I needed for graduate school.

For two of those undergrad years, I worked on creating educational programming at the Women’s Resource Center.  Through its big blue doors walked in some of the finest, coolest, caring, smartest, witty, and empowering women I have the pleasure of knowing.  I learned about all the different places, not just physical spaces but emotional and creatively imagined, women came from.  These women have stories to share; overcoming challenges and making great things bloom from each of them.  They all have big dreams for our future and are leading families, students, friends, communities, and schools toward other inspiring and beautiful places.   Collectively, the women of my hometown (along with my own family and loved ones) taught me the strength and magic that comes from a community of women.   These communities are everywhere, and that’s the beauty of it.

I am passionate about the unique ways women lead and the power of turning oppression and challenges into empowerment.  I am dedicated to finding ways in which to develop, enhance, and share methods/programs/tips that women can use to grow and lead in their lives for the greater good of our communities, cities, countries, and women around the world.  One strong and determined woman makes for a strong community.

I am now a graduate student at UNM and the mentoring and leadership program assistant at the fabulous Women’s Resource Center.  I hope to share tid-bits for success, advice on navigating academic/professional institutions, articles on inspirational women, social justice and women’s movements, trending and important books for women, and other fascinating information about leadership and women on the forefront.

So stay tuned.  I’ve got some great things cookin’.

Crossing Borders to End Violence Against Women

April 23, 2012

Crossing Borders to End Violence Against Women

In our ever-shrinking world, it is not uncommon to hear about violence or oppression in other countries (though never our own), and it is likely that you may have heard something about oppressed women in Latin American society, specifically in Mexico. However, we often do not realize that, as global culture becomes more fluid, violence and oppression also cross borders, and have a serious affect on both Mexican and American societies. The question is, what can be done to end violence against women, and how can we educate ourselves about violence prevention?

Since 2001, El Taller A.C., a human rights-based theater company from Puebla, Mexico, has used art to sensitize, train and challenge audiences on social issues often overlooked in Mexican society. Directed by self-proclaimed feminists, El Taller A.C.’s productions force audiences to deal with issues ranging from human trafficking and forced prostitution to domestic violence, safe sex, sexual orientation and work-based sexual assault by utilizing Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed methodology of forum theater, in which the audience participates in the play and acts out an ending.

Because the expressions of violence portrayed in their productions affect both Mexican and US citizens, and because violence is not stopped by walls, El Taller A.C. is now literally crossing borders to end violence against women. On a fifteen-day tour through nine US cities, the company will present three plays, 3000 Mujeres (about human trafficking and forced prostitution), Mujer No Se Escribe con M de Macho (about domestic violence, safe sex, sexual orientation and work-based sexual assault), as well as one in development about the cruelty suffered by migrant women. Over the tour, the group, comprised of six Mexican citizens and one US citizen (carrying out a Fulbright investigation in Puebla on the relationship between art and social transformation), plans to present for, learn from, and stand in solidarity with US-based Latino communities and the individuals and organizations that accompany them in order to spread the word and help end violence against women on an international scale.

In allegiance with the UNM Women’s Resource Center and UNM LGBTQ Resource Center, El Taller A.C. will present Mujer No Se Escribe con M de Macho on the UNM campus in a free bilingual performance.  Mujer No Se Escribe con M de Macho tells the story of three women who have been marginalized and silenced through normalized expressions of violence against women. The play, divided in three monologues, investigates—in a bold and entertaining way—themes that are often challenging to consider, such as domestic violence, sexual identity and sexual harassment. It will take place this Friday, April 27 at 7 pm in the Kiva Classroom on the UNM main campus. The performance will be free, so please come out and help us to end violence against women in a fun and educational environment! An additional performance will be on April 29th at 6 pm at Iglesia Congregacional Unida, 1701 Broadway SE, 242-8020.


Gray-Torres Conference Preview

April 12, 2012

It Begins With Me: Ending Interpersonal Violence

April 12, 2012

On March 10, 2010, UNM English Professor Hector Torres and UNM graduate student and Bernalillo High School teacher Stefania Gray were found shot to death in Torres’ Albuquerque home. Soon after, Gray’s ex-boyfriend, who, just months before, had been charged with burglary, kidnapping, aggravated assault and domestic violence in relation to Gray, confessed to the double homicides. The losses rocked the community, and memorials and eulogies for the pair reflect the overwhelming sense of sadness and injustice that many felt after the murders.

It was so unfair and tragic that the community should be robbed of these two individuals who showed such tremendous intellectual ability by a jealous and seemingly preventable act of violence. Yet, many people do not realize that this type of violence happens everyday in communities and homes across the globe, often in ways that can be prevented by simple bystander intervention. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and most cases are never reported to the police. Perhaps it takes something catastrophic, something that impacts us on such a deep and personal level to make us come to grips with this reality, to generate action. In any case, it is clear that awareness needs to be raised.

Realizing this, and driven by the sense of injustice that so often follows inexcusable acts of interpersonal violence, friends and colleagues of the murder victims came together to create a conference in their honor. Several distinguished professors and faculty members collaborated with the Women’s Resource Center, and many other campus and community partners, to create the Gray-Torres Conference on Interpersonal Violence, the goal of which is to raise awareness about the violence that has become such an everyday occurrence in our lives and share tools that can easily be used to reduce it.

This year’s conference, It Begins With Me, will focus on how each individual can make a difference in the lives around him/her by learning practical strategies for dealing with conflict in its many forms. It will feature a screening of Telling Amy’s Story, about the death of a domestic violence victim, as well as keynote speaker Mike Dilbeck, founder of The Response Ability Project and the Every|Day Hero Campaign. In addition, there will be bystander training from the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, a discussion about conflict resolution within personal relationships led by Dr. Emily Moore, and poetry and fictional readings related to the issue of interpersonal violence featuring Mike Brown, Luci Tapahonso, Maria Gallegos, Michelle Brooks and Feroza Jussawalla.

By becoming educated and aware of what you as an individual can do to prevent violence within your community, you are helping to prevent this epidemic worldwide. As the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states, this is “an epidemic affecting individuals in every community regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background… The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.” Therefore, it is immeasurably important to raise awareness and become educated, and for everyone to realize that the solution to interpersonal violence, and the prevention of another tragedy like that of Stefania Gray and Hector Torres truly does “begin with me.”

Why We’re Here

March 27, 2012

One of the oldest campus Women’s Resource Centers in the country, the University of New Mexico Women’s Resource Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The WRC was founded in 1972 by a group of UNM students, faculty and community members with the goal of coordinating projects around women’s issues and providing specialized services to not only women, but to the entire community. Over the past forty years, the WRC has strived to create a place of advocacy, support and safety for all, in addition to promoting women’s self-determination and political involvement as well as the advancement of women’s rights and equality. We have sought to promote mutual understanding among women and men to achieve individual and social change as well as to create a positive campus environment. Since 1972, we have served the needs of countless women through services including crisis intervention, breastfeeding support programs and lactation stations, peer and community support groups, referrals, the Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship, continuing film series, as well as special events and major conferences.

In continuing with this tradition, we wanted to begin a blog that could serve as a safe space for discussion about issues effecting women. We not only hope to stimulate discussion, but also to inform our readers and help spread the word about current issues that affect women of all walks of life. This is more important than ever with so many recent policy and statute changes happening across the country having to do with women’s rights, insurance-covered contraception, maternity leave, and access to reproductive healthcare. Whether or not you support or are against these policies, whether or not you consider yourself a feminist or an activist, these issues affect all women on the deepest level by mandating what can and cannot be done to the body, and it is therefore of the utmost importance to stay up-to-date with and get involved in what is happening with this political situation.

Politics aside, we want this to be a place to celebrate women, to share stories and tips, to generate new ideas on what it means to be a woman in our ever-changing world. We want to reach out and connect with as many women as possible and create an online community where we can all support and grow from one another because as history proves, connection and community between women can be one of the most powerful forces in the world.

That being said, we hope you enjoy our blog! In order to stimulate a little thought, we’ll leave you with a few relevant quotes:


“I became a feminist as an alternative to becoming a masochist.”  ~Sally Kempton, attributed

“The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.”  ~Lucretia Mott

“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”  ~Madeleine K. Albright


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