WCW was formally established in 1995 when the Center for Research on Women -- founded by Wellesley College in 1974 -- and the Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies -- founded by Wellesley College in 1981 -- joined together to become a single organization.
Since 1974, researchers at WCW have conducted groundbreaking interdisciplinary studies on a broad range of social issues, including gender equity in education, sexual harassment in schools, gender violence, child care, and adult roles in the home and the workplace. The research questions grew out of the diverse perspectives of women from all walks of life. The findings offered innovative policy alternatives to a wide range of pressing social concerns and have informed educators, advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and parents.
The Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies at WCW was dedicated in 1981 to the prevention of psychological problems, the enhancement of psychological wellbeing, and the search for a more comprehensive understanding of human development. Founded with a generous grant from Grace W. and Robert S. Stone, the mission was carried out through education, research, and community outreach. Particular attention was paid to the experiences of women, children, and families across culturally diverse populations. Over the years, innovative theoretical work on women's psychological development and model programs for the prevention of psychological problems were developed and training programs that promote social-emotional learning in elementary education have grown.