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The Women's Center at the Alexandria Campus was established in the Fall of 2008 through the efforts and contributions of a group of volunteer faculty, staff and student leaders. It was started based on the belief that NOVA was in need of a program that focused on building a sense of community through support, education, advocacy and opportunities to assist students in pursuing their educational goals.

The focus groups, co-facilitated by student leaders, surveyed international students, parents, non-traditional aged students and student leaders on campus determined there was a need for co-op childcare opportunities, workshops on various topics related to health and well-being, and space designated for conversations among women or for quiet reflection between classes.

Since its beginning, the center has been a place that grows and addresses the most pressing needs of our students, staff and faculty in creating an inclusive experience for all at NOVA. In 2017 the Center was renamed The Jean Braden Center for Women, Gender and Social Equity to reflect the more inclusive nature of the center in educating, advocating and supporting for all students across all gender and sexual identities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. This change both honors the original commitments and concerns of the founders of the Center while also reflecting the dynamic cultural changes within the field of gender studies and the needs of our student and community populations.