The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS) partners with members of the community to work together in the pursuit of common goals.
Conspire Theatre is a new nonprofit theatre company (sponsored by Austin Circle of Theaters) created to serve marginalized and incarcerated women using the creative mediums of theatre and creative writing. Many of the women we serve have suffered severe physical and psychic trauma, and we counter that by creating a safe and joyful space to explore creativity, agency and self-expression. CWGS is working to help Conspire Theatre build a support network.
The mission of Conspire Theatre is to offer marginalized women a healing and empowering experience through the creative mediums of theatre and writing.
This is accomplished through:
Workshops incorporating games and play
Original writing (poetry, stories, monologues, songs, plays)
Communication skills training
Teamwork skills training
Self-esteem building activities such as acting, dance, movement, mime, monologue, dramatic interpretation, and character development.
For more information on Conspire Theatre, visit:
The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Founded in New York City in 1997, Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization offering services designed to help our clients find jobs and remain employed. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and can return for a second suit or separates when she finds work.
Since 1997, Dress for Success has served more than 550,000 women around the world. Each year we reach more than 50,000 women in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Mexico, Poland and the West Indies. All Dress for Success organizations are not-for-profit entities, with Dress for Success Worldwide and its U.S. affiliates having 501(c)(3) charitable status and those outside the U.S. operating as registered charities. Clothing donations and financial contributions made to Dress for Success affiliates within the U.S. are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Dress for Success serves clients by referral only, and women must have an interview scheduled before receiving clothing. Our clients come to us from a continually expanding and diverse group of non-profit and government agencies including homeless shelters, immigration services, job training programs, educational institutions and domestic violence shelters, among many other organizations. More than 3,000 organizations throughout the world send women to Dress for Success for professional apparel and career development services.
On her initial visit a woman receives a suit appropriate for the industry in which she is interviewing and, if available, accessories. After a woman finds a job she returns to Dress for Success for additional clothing that can be mixed and matched to make several outfits, providing her with the foundation for a professional wardrobe.
While we may be best known for providing suits to women, it is our employment retention programs that are the cornerstone of the organization. Soon after Dress for Success was founded we came to recognize that finding work is only one step in a woman's journey towards economic independence; remaining employed and building a rewarding career are essential if a woman is to become self-sufficient
CWGS will help with programming, provide interns and volunteers.
CWGS assisted Garza’s teachers and administrators in putting together the first “for credit” women’s studies curriculum for high school students in Texas. TEA has approved it as a core curriculum in History and English.
Garza Independence High School, which opened in January of 1998, is a public school of choice for any student with 10 or more credits who has completed two full years of high school and who wishes to earn a high school diploma. Students may apply anytime, whether they are presently enrolled in school or have not attended school for a period of time.
Like all Austin ISD high schools, Garza is a fully accredited high school. Students completing all local and state requirements, including TAAS/TAKS, will be eligible to graduate with a high school diploma. Garza provides a credit-by-proficiency environment designed to remove the traditional barriers to succeeding in high school. 82% of Garza students go on to college after graduation.
For more information on Garza High School, visit:
Women's Human Rights: Garza's Performing Justice Project
Rainforest Partnership is an international non-profit organization focused on protecting tropical rainforests. We partner with communities in Latin America to develop sustainable economic alternatives to deforestation, making it more valuable for them to keep their forests standing. By creating a global network—linking people to people, community to community—we act as a catalyst to create long-term economic and environmental sustainability.
Rainforest Partnership is the only Texas-based nonprofit focused on saving trees, protecting biodiversity, and partnering with indigenous people of rainforest communities.
To develop a global network of partners to protect the Earth’s rainforests by:
Identifying threats to forest integrity in partnership with local stakeholders
Working with local communities, businesses, government, and nonprofit agencies to create sustainable economic development alternatives to deforestation, ensuring the integrity of the forest and all its resources for generations to come
Raising awareness in our communities of the issues relevant to protecting the forest and the need for action to connect activities in each partner community to global impacts on climate change
Acting as a catalyst—linking people to people—to achieve a sustainable future.
And to do so in a way that respects all, protecting human rights and preserving indigenous integrity.
The Texas After Violence is an organization that listens to people directly touched by serious violence; shares findings; and promotes collective, critical, and constructive conversations about effective ways to prevent and respond to violence. CWGS works with this organization by co-sponsoring events and making connections with our students.
More about the Texas After Violence Project:
“Oral history” is one way to describe what we do, but we don’t see ourselves as “taking” or “collecting” oral histories, as though stories were things, objects that we go out and “get.” Yes, the project produces material things -- transcripts of words, tapes, DVDs -- but the process of our work is at least as important as its products.
What the process of telling stories can does
People who go through a traumatic event, such as violence or the loss of a beloved person, may experience a sense of radical disempowerment. Such events remind us that we are not in control over our own lives. Often, the legal processes that follow an act of violence reinforce people’s feelings of powerlessness. Such radical disempowerment, combined with grief, may under some circumstances, in some people, give rise to feelings of despair.
The act of telling a story can be a small reclamation of control in a person’s life. While we have limited control over what happens, we can claim more control over how we respond to events and what meanings we make of these events. Reflecting on traumatic events, telling stories or fashioning narratives can help us discover or rediscover meaning in our own lives.
For more information on the Texas after Violence Project, visit: