MIT's women's community center, the Margaret Cheney Room, was founded in 1884 in recognition of the fact that women have traditionally been denied a safe space of their own, especially in the STEM fields. In light of its founding mission, the Cheney Room exists to promote community and empower all students at MIT who experience gender-based systems of oppression. This includes (but is not limited to) self-identified women, transgender women, and non-binary individuals.
Women have been an important part of the Institute since Ellen Swallow Richards, the first MIT woman student, graduated in 1873. Women-identified students now make up over 45 percent of the student body, and there are a number of student organizations led by and dedicated to women-identified students.