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The Cambridge Women's Center is the oldest community-based center for women in the United States! Since 1971, the Women's Center has been developing innovative programs and services for women of all backgrounds. All of our programs and services are offered free of charge!

Our Mission
The Cambridge Women's Center provides a supportive community space for all women by offering opportunities for empowerment, learning, healing, trauma support, and understanding.
The Women's Center achieves its mission through the following services:
  • Drop-in day shelter program providing a safe space for all who identify as women;
  • In-person and telephone helpline offering emotional support and resource referrals on topics such as homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance use, mental health, and trauma;
  • Informational resources on housing, employment and legal services;
  • Material assistance, including free food, clothing and Computer Lab access;
  • Free classes, workshops and groups, including creative arts, trauma support, financial planning, LGBTQ+ support, English-Spanish conversation, wellness and self-help, and much more!
Our History
During the 1960's and 70's, women experienced a pressing need for information, resources, and support to fight the discrimination they experienced. They also sought a space for activism. In 1971, a large group of women dramatized this need through direct action by seizing an abandoned, Harvard-owned building on Memorial Drive. Inspired by their actions and subsequent organizing efforts, many local supporters generously contributed toward the purchase of 46 Pleasant Street in Cambridge - the Women's Center.

Our Achievements
  • Assisted in forming the first battered women's shelter in the state, Transition House, in 1973
  • Assisted in the development of Finex House, the first wheelchair accessible shelter in Massachusetts
  • Assisted in the development of the Elizabeth Stone House, which houses battered women and women with mental illnesses
  • Developed and nurtured the Rape Crisis Center starting in 1973 through its evolution into an independent organization, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, (BARCC) in 1987
  • Provided a home, in 1980, to the first mutual support organization for survivors of child sexual abuse in the country, Incest Resources, Inc., which continues to flourish at the Women's Center to this day
  • Developed and organized an annual Women's Health Day (starting in 1993) in Cambridge, where women found a wide array of free workshops and information about women's health issues
  • Provided free counseling services to hundreds of low-income, uninsured women
  • Trained hundreds of women in basic computer and Internet skills
  • Developed Women of Action (WOA) in 2002, a grassroots empowerment organizing group of low-income women working for social and economic justice; WOA won MBTA access for women with strollers in 2003
  • Assisted in creating the Incest Survivor Quilt Project in 2004, an art therapy and public education project in which survivors of child sexual abuse join together and make stunning quilts which are displayed in public spaces to provoke conversations about how to prevent child abuse in the next generation.
  • Assisted in creating the Survivor Theatre Project in 2008, which brings together survivors of sexual abuse to create, produce and stage performances that feature enlightening dialogues between the performers and audiences
  • Created Healing Empowerment through Arts Learning (HEAL), which helps enrich and empower women recovering from domestic violence, sexual abuse, and the effects of chronic poverty

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