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University Of Virginia Women’s Center To Receive AAUW Progress In Equity Award

September 26, 2002-- For 12 years, Sharon Davie has led the Women’s Center in creating programs and providing services that strengthen and support the environment for women at U.Va. Thanks to a graduate student, the American Association of University Women is recognizing those efforts by giving the center its annual Progress in Equity Award. The AAUW chooses one recipient nationwide each year for the $10,000 award and will present it Oct. 2 at a reception on Grounds.

“One of the most heartwarming aspects of this,” said Davie, “is that the center was nominated by a graduate student at the University.” Cathy Barefoot, a doctoral student in the Curry School of Education focused on the Women’s Center for an education course project last spring. She found information about the award while browsing the AAUW Web site and decided to nominate the center.

Although Barefoot had been aware of the Women’s Center before her project, she said she was amazed by the depth and number of programs the center offers to so many people, from students to community members. She noted the center’s many volunteers, and how they receive mentoring and training from the small but experienced staff.

“They are unsung heroes,” Barefoot said. “I’m thrilled the Women’s Center will get the recognition for its exceptional work. And the money can be used for whatever they need.”

The award, supported by the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, is for programs that have furthered equity for women faculty, staff and/or students; are innovative or exemplary; address the needs of diverse groups of women; and can be adapted by other institutions.

The AAUW cited the center’s services and programs, which address the community’s needs at and around the University — from the Visiting Artists and Scholars series to the mentoring emphasis of the Young Women Leaders Program to the free legal clinic.

The creation of the Women’s Center resulted from a recommendation in the 1988 report of U.Va.’s Task Force on the Status of Women.

“I think it recognizes years of progress at the University and the work of so many faculty, students, staff and also community members in creating an environment that is equitable for women and men,” Davie said. “There’s still work to be done, and people are engaged with that work. That might be the most optimistic thing of all.”

Contact: Anne Bromley, (434) 924-6861

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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