• New Scholars Explore Motherhood and Women's Lives
    NEWS

    New Scholars Explore Motherhood and Women's Lives

    December 2018

    In our annual report, three scholars new to WCW share their expertise and why they are building on their research at WCW.

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  • Commentary: Immigrant Entrepreneurship in America
    BLOG

    Commentary: Immigrant Entrepreneurship in America

    December 2018

    Dr. Sari Pekkala Kerr shares key lessons from emerging data on immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. that can inform policy development.

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  • Women's Review of Books
    NEWS

    A Celebration of Feminist Publishing

    December 2018

    The Women's Review of Books celebrates the feminist bookstore movement and the innovation of feminist writers and publishers.

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  • Let’s Put the Humanity Back into Human Rights
    BLOG

    Let’s Put the Humanity Back into Human Rights

    December 2018

    WCW's Layli Maparyan encourages us to think about how we are dehumanizing each other, and find our way back to affirming one another’s full humanity.

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The

Wellesley Centers for Women 

is a premier women- and gender-focused, social-change oriented research-and-action institute at Wellesley College.
Our mission is to advance gender equality, social justice, and human wellbeing through high quality research, theory, and action programs.

PROJECTS

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A World That Is Good for Women Is Good for Everyone TM

GO TO GIVE

Wellesley Centers for Women

Gender-Equitable Education: A Focus on Literacy

Popular media has “balanced” attention to girls’ difficulties in math and science with considerable attention to boys’ difficulties in language arts. It has often been argued that both problems are a reflection of characteristics inherent in gender differences. However, a growing body of research supports the importance of socialization rather than biology in explaining disadvantages in academic subject areas. We believe that attention to gender socialization within the various contexts of children’s lives is key to understanding how best to prepare all students, girls and boys, for academic success.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Human Rights Activists From West Africa Visit WCW

Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2004

international work  In early February, Molly Melching, executive director of Tostan, a Senegal-based nongovernmental organization, and Kerthio Diarra, a Senegalese village woman and human rights activist, visited the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). Melching and Diarra spent two days at the Centers meeting and talking with WCW staff before continuing on to Washington, D.C., and a congressional briefing on female genital cutting (FGC). The congressional hearings were scheduled for February 6, a day designated to recognize international efforts to end FGC and raise awareness about the issue; February 6 also marked 13 years of work for Tostan.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Empowering Girls: Nigerian Activists Focus on Gender and Sexuality

international work  By Deborah L. Tolman
Last May, I met with an international group of women who provide reproductive-health and sexuality-education services to adolescent girls in developing countries with support from the International Women’s Health Coalition.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Students at the Centers

Students are a vivid presence throughout the three buildings that house the Wellesley Centers for Women—at the copy machine, at computers, and at the reception desk. Each year, WCW hires approximately 70 students in a variety of clerical and research positions.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Uncovering Links Between Childhood Abuse and Delinquency in Girls

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According to National estimates, every year more than 700,000 adolescent girls are arrested and brought into the juvenile-justice system. In fact, today, adolescent girls comprise about 28% of all juvenile arrests. Have girls become increasingly more violent in recent years? Is the violent behavior of girls different from that of boys? Do girls need different criminal-justice-system responses to help them cope with the problems they face? And, since many of these girls have experienced abuse in childhood, is there a link between childhood abuse and adolescent delinquency?

Wellesley Centers for Women

Add Drama, Multiply Interest: A New Way to Teach Math

Making mathematics interesting to young children has been an ongoing challenge faced by parents, teachers, and other education professionals for years. The problem is that children are asked to do abstract mathematical activities that have little intrinsic meaning for them. As a result, children often remain disengaged. Even the attempts to bring in “relevant” or “real world” examples—such as how many cookies each child will get or how long would you have to wait in line—are still not compelling enough to engage a young mind.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Q&A With WCW Postdoctoral Research Fellows

The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) has three postdoctoral research positions sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In the summer of 2004 researchers were selected and matched with a mentor. During their two-year tenure at WCW, the fellows receive training in a variety of skills ranging from methodology to preparing a manuscript for publication and writing grant proposals. The program is designed to prepare the junior researchers to become senior scholars in the study of childhood and adolescence, with special emphasis on how race and ethnicity, gender, and social class interact with risk and resilience factors in human development. Fellows can collaborate with their mentors on externally funded research projects and can initiate independent research conducted under the guidance of their mentor. Sumru Erkut is working with Michelle Bragg, Linda Williams is teamed with Diane Purvin, and Nancy Marshall is partnered with Jasmine Waddell.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Reaffirming Rights in Our Nation's Schools

Welcome to the post-Columbine world of zero-tolerance school discipline. Zero tolerance means one strike and you’re out, no matter what. Schools are quick to suspend students for anything that could be deemed a weapon, a drug, or a threat, and the result is that students are being controlled in ways that shred their Constitutional rights. Students have been suspended for papers they have written, thoughts they have had, and drawings they have created (Commonwealth v. Milo, M., 433 Mass. 149 [2001]). Elementary-school children have been suspended for comments made in the heat of a touch football game or in response to a teacher denying permission to go to the bathroom, comments that schools characterized as "death threats." In a case from Jonesboro, Arkansas, an eight year-old boy was suspended for pointing a chicken nugget toward a teacher and saying "Pow, pow."

Wellesley Centers for Women

Jean Baker Miller Training Institute: 10th Anniversary

The Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI) at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. The Institute is dedicated to the exploration of new models of human strength based on empathy, compassion, and contribution to social justice. Working at both the micro and macro levels, the Institute supports individual change while working for social transformation. The 2005 anniversary year brings deep gratitude for all who have joined in the work, a sense of pride in the accomplishments, and a daunting awareness of what still needs to be done.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Yet again? Women and science, the discussion goes on . . . and on . . .

Harvard President Lawrence Summers drew a storm of criticism this past winter when he spoke about the dearth of top-level women scientists and engineers and suggested that innate sex differences influence achievement in these fields. His somewhat belated explanation that he had intended to provoke discussion, not advance a hypothesis, did little to quell the furor. Summers' remarks and the debate and discussion they ignited are but the tip of the iceberg. Despite years of genuine progress for women in scientific and technological fields, misconceptions about women's abilities and subtle barriers to their progress remain. The interactions and interconnections among biological similarities and differences, environmental factors and cultural assumptions, are complex and difficult to unravel. But regarding questions of when, why, and how women do or do not advance in science, the old "biology is destiny" thesis is clearly not supported by the evidence.

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