Past Press Releases

New Funding for Sex Ed, Dating Violence, and Disability Rights

October 15, 2008

New funding at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is expanding the Centers work in middle schools and is also enabling the promotion of disability rights in Asia.


Evaluation of sex education curriculum

This project is an evaluation of the effectiveness of Get Real, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) middle school comprehensive sex education curriculum. The evaluation is designed to assess the curriculum's effectiveness in achieving short-term objectives, such as positive attitudes toward delaying sexual activity and toward contraception and protection use; effective communicating about sex with parents and peers; greater understanding of the need to limit the number of sexual encounters and sexual partners; increased understanding of the risks involved in frequent sex, sex with an older partner, and having many sex partners; increased intention to practice correct and consistent use of protection and not to combine sexual activity with substance use. The long-term objective is promoting sexual health through limiting unintended pregnancies and increasing the correct and consistent use of contraceptives and other protection. Funding is provided by PPLM; the WCW team is led by Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., associate director and senior research scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women.


Evaluation of dating violence prevention programs

This collaborative, multi-level experimental evaluation, funded by the National Institute of Justice, is designed to help increase the capacity of schools to prevent dating violence/harassment (DV/H). Nan Stein, Ed.D., WCW senior research scientist, serves as the co-principal investigator with Bruce Taylor of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, DC. The long-term goal of this study is to help prevent dating violence, sexual violence, and sexual harassment by employing rigorous methods to evaluate strategies for altering the violence-supportive attitudes and norms of youth. The study will evaluate the relative effectiveness of a multi-level approach to DV/H prevention programming (in terms of knowledge, attitudes, intended behavior, behavior, and emotional safety of youth participants) for middle school students in 55 middle schools in a large urban school district.


New work promotes disability rights in Asian countries

The Open Society Institute is funding a new project at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW): Accessing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Empower Women and Children with Disabilities in Bangladesh and Nepal. Under the direction of Rangita de-Silva de-Alwis, LL.M., S.J.D., WCW senior advisor on international programs, the overarching goal of this project is to facilitate full citizenship rights for women and children with disabilities in Bangladesh and Nepal. The project adopts a paradigm shift to bring the women's rights movement together with the disability rights movement to focus on the intersectionality of rights of women and children with disabilities. This pioneering model will broaden access for women and children to resources, strengthen laws and practices impacting women and children with disabilities, and bolster the initiatives to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) 2007. Strategies such as building action task forces, convening seminars, developing advocacy manuals, and providing technical assistance to constitutional reform, law and policy making, and litigation to challenge discrimination will be employed to meet the project goals.

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 wellbeing 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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