“Womanism is a social change perspective based on the cultural wisdom and practical knowledge of everyday women from around the world, applied more broadly to world-scale problems,” notes Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women. “It is historically rooted in the experiences and perspectives of Africana women and other women of color, whose cultural orientation has been towards the integration of human, ecological, and spiritual factors in the creation of wellbeing for their families and communities. This work focuses on the applicability of womanism on a global scale, and is critical today,” she stresses, “because it provides people with a holistic, wellness- and consciousness-oriented social and environmental change paradigm that complements perspectives, such as feminism, that are more institutionally focused.”

Watch Dr. Maparyan’s brief interview during which she discusses the mission of the Wellesley Centers for Women, and how feminism and womanism thread throughout the Centers’ work.