In 1970, Dr. Emily Taylor, Dean of Women at The University of Kansas (1956-1974), established the KU Women’s Resource & Career Planning Center (WRCPC). That same year, the KU Women's Hall of Fame was established to honor exemplary KU women. The Center was renamed in her honor as the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource & Career Center (ETWRCC) in 1974.
Of the mission of the Center, Dr. Taylor stated: “Our concern is to challenge the status quo for women and encourage all women to do so. In the process we hope to sensitize increasing numbers of women and men to the political, educational, legal and social conditions in our society that depress women’s talents, act as barriers to their achievement, and reduce their participation as free and equal partners with men in all aspects of life.”
In Spring 1977, ETWRCC solicited members for its advisory board, which met for the first time on April 18th.
In 1978, Barbara Bloom was appointed ETWRCC Director. That same year, KU allocated ETWRCC a budget and assigned the unit to the Department of Student Life.
Soon after, ETWRCC started offering a wide array of programs and resources for women as well men with the understanding that “the freedom of women depends upon the freedom of all people.” While ETWRCC sought to serve all KU students and “end the irrational, differential treatment of [all] people,” programming and resources intentionally focused on women with the recognition that “the history of discrimination against women [requires] a particular concern for the equal treatment of women.”
The Center’s initial programming focused on providing women with tools and skills necessary to live independent lives, including career planning, financial literacy, and assertiveness coaching. At the same time, the Center served as a space where women could discuss personal and political issues.
In 1980, Dr. Barbara Ballard was named Director of ETWRCC, becoming the first Black woman to hold this position. By this time the list of ETWRCC’s programs and workshops had grown substantially, with sexual assault prevention becoming a major focus.
In 1998, Dr. Kathy Rose-Mockry was named Director of the Center. During her tenure, Dr. Rose-Mockry established popular past programs, such as the Women of Distinction Calendar (2004-2017) and Men of Merit poster project (2004-2017), as well as the Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series in 2009, which ETCWGE still hosts annually. Dr. Rose-Mockry also spearheaded ETCWGE’s resource guide for pregnant and parenting students, a population that the Center continues to serve.
In 2009, a KU Women's Hall of Fame display was erected on the 5th floor in the KU Memorial Union thanks to the generous support of the Center's friends and the efforts of Dr. Kala Stroup.
In 2012, the Center was moved from Student Affairs to the newly-created Office of Diversity & Equity within the Provost’s Office. That same year, the Center was renamed Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity to emphasize the importance of centering women while expanding the campus community’s understanding of gender equity as a necessity for all KU students, staff, and faculty to thrive.
In 2015, the Center relocated to Wescoe Hall, Room 4024. The following year, KU established the Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center, concluding ETCWGE’s role as the primary Center on campus charged with this work.
In Spring 2017, ETCWGE hired Dr. Megan Williams as the Center’s first full-time Program Coordinator. In this role, Dr. Williams advocated for ETCWGE to reshape its mission to promote intersectional trans-inclusive feminism and started offering programs and events that advance this goal. In 2018, Dr. Williams was promoted to ETCWGE’s Assistant Director. In March of that year, The Center moved to the Burge Union, Suite 1040.
In June 2019, Bulaong Ramiz returned to KU to direct the ETCWGE. Under Ramiz's leadership, ETCWGE increased virtual access to programming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; expanded resources for pregnant and parenting students; and developed new collaborative partnerships, broadening the Center's ability to reach students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members.
In 2020, ETCWGE was moved to Student Affairs and, in 2022, Nikita Haynie was chosen as Director.