Although UF was originally a male-exclusive institution, we’ve definitely come a long way since its inception. Today, women outnumber men at a 54/46 ratio! To wrap up Women’s History Month, here’s a brief run-through of the current services and communities available to female students at UF:
Clubs UF has a plethora of women-specific societies and clubs that range from career-oriented to the volunteer- and outreach-committed. Here are just a few examples:
- Society for Women Engineers: In a profession historically dominated by men, SWE’s mission statement promises to strive to “inform, assist, and encourage women wishing to pursue a career in engineering.”
- Florida Association for Women Lawyers: FAWL promises to “actively promote gender equality and the leadership roles of FAWL’s members in the legal profession, judiciary, and community at large.”
- UF Women Initiative: With intent to “involve women as leaders in the life of UF,” UWI inspires Gator girls to come together for the advancement of the university as a whole. Directed to alumnae as well as current students, UFI even sends out “Women Reports” on relevant women’s success stories.
- Black Women’s Image Initiative: BWII declares promoting “life skills, unity, and academic and emotional support to the Black collegiate women” at UF. Partnering with sororities, the women lead discussions and hold events. Last year, the group held an event in which members discussed beauty stereotypes and their societal implications.
Health and Counseling With the Counseling and Wellness Center and Student Health Care Center on campus, UF offers many services specifically for women:
- The Student Health Care Center on campus houses a women’s clinic specializing in women’s health, staffed by five advanced registered nurse practitioners.
- The Women’s Clinic offers a wide array of services including Pap smears, routine pelvic exams, and breast exams, as well as counseling on contraceptive options, sexually transmitted disease prevention, sexuality, and other applicable female health issues.
Safety Instances of forcible sexual assault on the UF campus are about 35 percent lower than the national average, and a student poll found that 53 percent of students felt generally safe and comfortable walking alone across campus. Twenty-six percent felt extremely safe on campus. However, in partnership with University Police, UF still has many safety and prevention programs available for the protection of all students. Here are two examples:
- UPD offers a Rape Aggression Defense Program (RAD), which is a self-defense program for women and their personal safety. The program specializes in “awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and risk avoidance,” and then progresses to lessons about “hands-on physical defense techniques.”
- The highly popular Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) service provides free transportation every night until 3 a.m. and is easily accessible by the smart-phone app.
These are just a few institutions, services, and organizations for and led by women on UF’s campus. There is, of course, always a lot of room for improvement in terms of safety, counseling, and facilities. But for now, we can say it’s great to be a Gator girl!