Past Press Releases

New Funding Supports Rights and Court Approaches

August 15, 2008

The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is pleased to announce new projects that address women's rights in China and in Massachusetts.

Women's Rights in China

The Ford Foundation has awarded a grant to the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) to continue its work to advance the rights of women in China. Under the direction of Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, LL.M., S.J.D., WCW senior advisor on international programs, the "Strengthening Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination in China" project enables WCW to provide technical support to Ford Foundation grantees working on women's rights and equality. Rangita and WCW are honored to have the Honorable Nancy Gertner, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, as an advisor on this project.

Collaborating with the vanguard of legal advocates and the gender and law movement in China, WCW will provide research and background materials, and respond to emerging needs while providing comparative insights on gender equality lawmaking, litigation, and organizing from around Asia and the world. The goals include expanding capacity among women's rights and equal protection advocates, building on existing laws in China, using best practices to inform new regulations, and supporting the integration of international human rights conventions into policy reform. This project is an extension of a 2006 Ford Foundation-funded initiative with WCW.

Mass. Court Approaches to DV Cases

The Boston Foundation has awarded a grant to support the "Improving the Court Approach to Domestic Violence Cases in the Massachusetts Family Courts" project. This initiative, led by Monica Driggers, J.D., a co-director of the Gender and Justice Project at WCW, will address the need for greater accountability of family court proceedings.

The researchers' goals are to obtain a systemic "snapshot" in time of the volume and types of cases of divorce and child custody proceedings involving domestic violence in selected Massachusetts courts over the course of a week. This research will benefit from a group of experts, and the research team will collect court process data as well as information on the experiences of judges, parent litigants, probation officers, guardians ad litem, attorneys, and victim advocates. The findings will be presented in two state-wide forums, one for court personnel and one for advocates and litigants, with the goal of obtaining their input regarding best practices and recommendations for change. The resulting report will be presented to the Governor's Council to Address Sexual Violence in order to "jump start" systems change.

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.

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