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University of Iowa. Women's Resource and Action Center

 Organization

According to its constitution, the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) was founded to serve as "a cultural, social and organizational center for U. of Iowa women--students, staff, and faculty, and for all women of the Iowa City community."  As the organization has grown and prospered, this mission has been extended to the entire state of Iowa.

WRAC evolved during the second wave of the feminist movement.  In 1970 some Iowa City women formed a group called the Women's Liberation Front (WLF).  This group challenged the University of Iowa to recognize and combat sexism within the institution.  One result of this challenge was the creation of the Women's Center.  The Student Development Center (now the Office of Student Activities) provided funding and direction but the Center operated as a collective, making group policy decisions.

In the summer of 1974, a group of people revised the organizational structure of the Women's Center.  They established an advisory board to act as a governing body and changed the center's name to the "Women's Resource and Action Center" as a reflection of its expanded goals. It encompassed an on-site coordinator who worked in conjunction with the advisory board to implement WRAC policies. 

In 1976, WRAC moved to the former alumni records building on the corner of Madison and Market Streets.  Over time the University has expanded its support of WRAC.  For instance, in 1975 the WRAC coordinator's position was changed from half-time to full-time.  WRAC's funding is somewhat complex.  According to a 1977 informational statement on WRAC's finances, WRAC was classified as a university department, a student organization, and a community organization.  It developed one budget as a department under Student Services and submitted another to the student senate for funding as a student organization.  It also received community support, primarily in the form of individual donations and volunteer time.

Over the years, WRAC has grown to be a multi-service agency which seeks both to improve the status of women as a group and to meet the needs of individual women.  In order to accomplish these goals, WRAC acts as a referral center for community and state services for women, supports a small library of feminist materials, publishes a newsletter, maintains resource information on counseling about such issues as rape, sexuality, and careers, and sponsors workshops, speakers and conferences addressing women's concerns.  Additionally, WRAC supports a variety of cultural activities.  The center has held brown bag lunch series which provide a forum for discussing a wide range of feminist issues.  It has also promoted plays, concerts, films, sports events and art exhibits.  WRAC provides office space for organizations serving the needs of women.  In the past, the Lesbian Alliance (LA), Women Against Racism (WAR), the Johnson County-Iowa City National Organization of Women and the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), among others, were housed at WRAC.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Jo Rabenold papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0191
Abstract Iowa City activist who collected lesbian and feminist publications during the 1970s and 1980s.

Tess Catalano papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0527
Abstract Human rights activist, singer and song writer.

Women Against Racism Committee (Iowa City, Iowa) records

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0364
Abstract Multiethnic group founded in 1981 by women from the University of Iowa.

Women's Resource & Action Center (WRAC) Records

 Collection
Identifier: RG02.0002.005
Overview University organization dedicated to providing greater equity to all communities, with a particular focus on women.

Women's Resource and Action Center records

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0151
Abstract Women's center established in 1970 to serve the university and community.