Gail Cohee has been serving as the Director of the Sarah Doyle Women's Center since 2001. The Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, currently housed at 185 Meeting St., was founded in 1975 at the prompting of a coalition of students, faculty, administrators and employees, who wanted a meeting center for women of all ages to come together. Named in honor of a prominent 19th-century educator, it now serves as a resource to an active and well-informed women’s community with a long history of social involvement and a broad commitment to issues of social change. The Center offers a variety of services, lectures and forums relating to women’s issues, in addition to maintaining a library of feminist scholarship and a gallery that each year mounts eight to ten exhibits, often of works by local women artists. Its diverse constituency includes undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and the Brown community at large.
During her career, Cohee has served as chairman of the Elections Committee and a member of the Governing Council for the NWSA and co-chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association’s Women’s Studies Section and has been executive co-editor of book reviews for the journal Feminist Teacher. She has been a frequent panelist, presenter and discussion leader for conferences and workshops on feminist, gender and education issues.
Cohee received an A.B. in English from the University of Kentucky in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and women’s studies from Indiana University in 1993. She has maintained a nearly continuous association with women’s studies and feminist activism since her undergraduate years at the University of Kentucky, where she served as chairman of its Council on Women’s Concerns and co-organized Lexington’s first Take Back the Night March. While working on her Ph.D. at Indiana University she served on the Women’s Studies Coordinating Committee and the coordinating committee for the North Central Women’s Studies Association conference.
At Emporia State University Cohee was a charter member of its Ethnic/Gender Studies Steering Committee, helping to develop a course of study for the program and bringing a variety of multicultural and feminist events, including a yearly women’s poetry reading and juried art show, to the university and surrounding communities.