June 15, 2008
New collaborations and strengthened partnerships advance women's rights
The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and its senior advisor on international programs, Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, LL.M., S.J.D., continue to build collaborations with colleagues from across the Asia region. Working with the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Bangladesh, de Silva-de Alwis designed a year-long undergraduate course examining gender issues through multiple lenses. All second-year AUW students will be required to take the course, Women Shaping Society. This program will provide an alternative discourse to challenge prevailing norms on gender in Asia and help students become a vital part of Asia's new role in global, social, and economic development. Demonstrating the depth and breadth of gender studies, the course's themes are organized into several teaching modules: gender inequality in the public and private spheres, violence against women, and women's issues in relation to human rights, development, family law, education, and reproductive rights.
Building on WCW relationships with Ford Foundation grantees, de Silva-de Alwis traveled to China in May to present a paper on domestic violence in Asia at a conference organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She then traveled to Nepal for the third meeting and second training of the Asia Cause Lawyer Network (ACLN). This network of lawyers, legal academics, and activists committed to the application of law in effecting change for gender equality, was established in January 2007 with support from the Ford Foundation in partnership with WCW.
Scholars at WCW are committed to strengthening their international connections and collaborations and believe there is much to learn from women around the globe, as well as much to share. WCW has nongovernmental organization (NGO) status at the United Nations which facilitates its participation in this international work. WCW is committed to continuing and deepening its research and policy-focused programs in order to better understand and offer solutions to the challenges facing women and girls.
Since 1974, the Wellesley Centers for Women has been a driving force—both behind the scenes and in the spotlight—promoting positive change for women, children, and families. Work at WCW addresses three major areas: the status of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights both in the United States and around the globe; the education, care, and development of children and youth; and the emotional well-being of families and individuals. Issues of diversity and equity are central across all the work as are the experiences and perspectives of women from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.