Peggy McIntosh

Peggy McIntosh

Senior Research Scientist and Former Associate Director

Ph.D., Harvard University

Founder of the National SEED Project; writes and lectures extensively on issues of equity and privilege as they relate to race, class, gender, and sexual orientation

Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., former associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), is founder of the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), which helps teachers and community members create their own local, year-long, peer-led seminars in which participants use their own experiences and those of their students, children, and colleagues to open important conversations that in turn create communities and workplaces that are more inclusive.

McIntosh is widely known for her 1988 and 1989 papers on privilege -- White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work on Women’s Studies and White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Although the term ‘White Privilege’ was used well before McIntosh’s work, it gained widespread use following the release of these papers. Her paper series, “Feeling Like A Fraud,” also continues to inform the teaching and understanding of privilege and empowerment.

Current Work

McIntosh directs the Gender, Race, and Inclusive Education Project, which provides workshops on privilege systems, feelings of fraudulence, and diversifying workplaces, curricula, and teaching methods. She has taught English, American Studies, and Women's Studies at the Brearley School, Harvard University, Trinity College (Washington, D.C.), Durham University (England), and Wellesley College.


McIntosh is a co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Women's Institute and has been consulting editor to Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women. In 1993-1994, she consulted with women on 22 Asian campuses on the development of Women's Studies and programs to bring materials from Women's Studies into the main curriculum.

Awards & Recognition

In addition to having four honorary degrees, McIntosh is a recipient of the Klingenstein Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.