The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is the largest academic, women- and gender-focused, social-change oriented research-and-action institute in the United States, located at Wellesley College.
We envision a world of justice, peace, and wellbeing for women and girls, children and youth, families and communities, in all their diversity around the world.
Our mission is to advance gender equality, social justice, and human wellbeing through high-quality research, theory, and action programs.
While women’s and girls’ perspectives and experiences are at the center of our institutional identity, we recognize that the conditions of women’s and girls’ lives are shaped not only by their sex and gender, but also by other important factors: race, ethnicity, and culture; social class and economic status; nationality and religion; sexual orientation and gender expression; age and ability status; level of education; geographic context (urban, suburban, or rural); and a host of other factors. We share the conviction that the lives of men and boys – indeed, people of all genders – are as valuable and important as those of girls and women.
We work with the understanding that the change we seek occurs simultaneously at micro and macro levels, encompassing individuals, dyads, families, communities, and society at large. Only when social equity and equality, psychological wellbeing, peace, and freedom from violence and want evince for all people will our research and action programs have reached their true aim.
We seek to make our work accessible and useful to policymakers, thought leaders, decision makers, academics, advocates, activists, direct service providers, funders, the media, and any others, including the general public, who have the power and desire to make positive change.
Our NGO Status
The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) received NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council for the United Nations (UN) in 2001. This standing allows WCW to designate official representatives to a wide range of UN meetings held around the globe, including the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Our work is sustained by funding from federal, state, and local government agencies, private foundations, the Centers’ endowment (managed by Wellesley College), and the generosity of individual donors committed to social change, as well as support from Wellesley College. WCW receives 2-4% of its net revenues, plus essential infrastructure, facility, and governance support from Wellesley College.
Wellesley Centers for Women and Wellesley College
The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) at Wellesley College is the largest social science organization in the U.S. dedicated to gender research. The College founded the Center for Research on Women in 1974 and the Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies in 1981. The two centers came together in 1995 to form a single organization--the Wellesley Centers for Women.
The Centers offers five internships for Wellesley College students, providing meaningful research experiences. WCW also employs dozens of the College's students each year to work in a variety of program support roles. A few WCW researchers and scholars at WCW teach courses at Wellesley College or in the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs.
Wellesley faculty and students also benefit from WCW's NGO status and can participate in the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York City. WCW scholars occasionally collaborate with faculty and students on special initiatives and programs--planning seminars, hosting guest speakers, and network building. WCW Lunchtime Seminars held several Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters are open to the College and greater community.
WCW has close and special ties with several Wellesley College programs including the Stone Center Counseling Service, a part of the Division of Student Life that shares its mission and offices with WCW, and the National HERS Project, which organizes programs that improve the status and opportunities of female academic professionals and is also housed alongside WCW scholars.