Who We Are
The Penn Women’s Center was founded in April, 1973, after protestors occupied College Hall for four days to protest a series of rapes on campus. We moved to our current location on Locust Walk in the early 1990s, following the “Diversify Locust Walk” movement that sought to make Penn safer for minorities and female students. For over 40 years, the center has been active in promoting the rights of women on campus and beyond. We strive to include voices of gender, sexual, and racial minorities, acknowledging that feminism has historically been white and cis-centered. Come visit us to walk through a timeline of our history!
3643 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
- Monday – Thursday 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
- Friday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
- Evenings and weekends by special arrangement.
As Interim Director of PWC, Elisa supports and advocates for gender equity among all areas of the campus community. Elisa focuses on PWC’s educational programming, community outreach, and on mentoring key student groups such as PAGE (Penn Association for Gender Equity). Prior to joining Penn in 2017, Elisa served as the Manager of the Women’s Leadership & Mentorship Program at Robert Morris University where she supported peer and professional mentoring relationships and developed leadership training programs for undergraduate women.
Elisa has a background in grant writing and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations throughout the Philadelphia region, as a consultant for Fairmount Ventures, and a fundraiser for the Women’s Business Development Center and Urban League of Philadelphia. She also served as a marketing coordinator and market researcher for The Melior Group where she helped colleges and nonprofit organizations meet the needs of their constituencies. In her spare time, Elisa uses these skills to support the local nonprofit community. She is currently a board member of Pathways to Housing PA in Philadelphia and a former board member of Ursuline Support Services in Pittsburgh.
Elisa received her undergraduate degree in English and Communication with a concentration in Africana studies from Villanova University and her master’s degree in Communication (Media & Cultural Studies) from Villanova.
Hitomi Yoshida has worked in higher education and qualitative evaluation since she graduated with an M.S. Ed. from Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) in 1995. Before joining Penn Women’s Center, Hitomi served as the Program Coordinator at the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH) and as the Diversity Programs Manager for the Penn Museum. Before she returned to Penn campus, she was the Associate Director for the Intergenerational Center at Temple University for many years. Hitomi is experienced in facilitating collaborative learning and community engagement and appreciates the welcoming space and dynamic programs that the Penn Women’s Center offers for the community.
In her spare time, Hitomi likes to attend community-based art events and engage with local non-profits that serve refugee and immigrant communities. She also enjoys cheering for her sons’ dance performances and lacrosse games, and raising her little rescue dog, Charlie.
What We Do
We are affiliated with a number of centers and programs on campus, with the goal of centralizing women, gender, and sexuality focused resources. We encourage you to look at our support services and affiliated groups for further information. We offer programs related to: Career Development, Stress Management, Parenting, Sexual Violence Prevention, and Health and Wellness.
We sponsor a number of events throughout the year that highlight issues of gender justice and promote women writers, activists, artists and political and professional leaders. These include conferences, trainings, and workshops, with topics ranging from restorative justice, to healthy relationships, to men and masculinities. Major sponsored events, co-produced with student groups, include the Vagina Monologues, the Women’s Leadership Summit, Penn Women’s Week and Take Back the Night.
We play an advocacy role regarding issues of gender equity, health, childcare, workplace discrimination, domestic and sexual violence, and mental health.
Located in the heart of campus, at 3643 Locust Walk, the Penn Women’s Center offers the perfect space for women, female-identified persons and feminists of all genders to study, relax, host meetings, and workshops or team up for civic engagement projects.
More than just a building, we are also home to a fully equipped nursing room, complete with a Medela Symphony breast pump, that provides a cozy private space for breastfeeding and/or pumping. We also have an eco-kitchen (PEEK) that can be used for cooking, events or hanging out, a film and book library, a TV lounge, wireless internet access and assorted meeting rooms.