Women quickly established themselves as leaders on campus by creating their own publications and organizations and joining previously existing ones. In 1971, the Bowdoin Women’s Association (BWA) became the first student group founded by women students. The organization hosted speakers, facilitated discussion groups, published newsletters for the Bowdoin community, and sponsored publications like Womyn’s Words (1988-1993) and To the Root (1980-1995).
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) was established in 1980 at 24 College Street, a decade after Bowdoin admitted its first women students. The WRC provided a space for students to gather and discuss a variety of topics, and it contained a library of over 2,000 volumes and 26 periodicals. The WRC housed the offices of BWA, the Bowdoin Gay/Lesbian/Straight Alliance (now known as the Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance), and, starting in 2005, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD). In 2017, the WRC and the RCSGD combined to form the Sexuality, Women, and Gender Center (SWAG).
Women created space for themselves in athletics, music, theater, and student government. They addressed important issues, such as sexual violence, which paved the way for subsequent women to continue these conversations. As more women matriculated into Bowdoin, women’s programs strengthened and grew into the multitude of opportunities available to Bowdoin women today.