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The

Wellesley Centers for Women 

is a research and action institute at Wellesley College that is focused on women and gender and driven by social change.
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

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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.

Wellesley Centers for Women

How Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage Has Influenced Massachusetts Couples

In November of 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage was discordant with existing constitutional principles. In 2004, after the ruling went into effect, the Same-sex Marriage Study Group formed at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). Faced with the unique opportunity to study how the recent legalization of samesex marriage affected gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts, the group designed the Exploratory Study of Same-sex Marriage. Through the study, the team sought to explore the diversity of experiences along the lines of gender, race/ethnicity, and parenting status. The study also examined how children in same-sex-parented families perceived and experienced this social change.

Wellesley Centers for Women

The Methods Behind Passionate Science

Explained by Allison Tracy, Ph.D., WCW Methodologist and Research Scientist

The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) has been a leader in the study of issues of importance to women for more than 30 years. What makes our work somewhat different from many other “think tanks” around the country is that the Centers’ staff pursue research about which we are unabashedly passionate, with the goal of making a positive difference in the world. This vigor which we bring to our work may appear to some, particularly if the findings challenge their views, to be at the expense of scholarly rigor. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Open Circle: Making a Difference

In 1987 Pamela Seigle, a teacher and school psychologist, was invited to work with six teachers from two of the most diverse schools in Framingham, MA. The teachers took a leap of faith and signed up to participate in an action-research project focused on what was then described as a “coping skills” program. Together, they explored ways to help young school children develop critical communication, self-control, and problem solving skills. They also wanted to discover ways that schools could create safe learning environments that would support both the social and academic success of children. with those who did not. The benefits are evident as well in the day-to-day lives of scores of children and educators in schools that use the program.

Wellesley Centers for Women

WCW Sponsors Violence against Women Conference

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Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2006

More than 200 advocates, researchers, and grassroots organizers convened at the New York County Lawyer’s Association (NYCLA) on March 4, 2006 for “Violence against Women: From Critical Concerns to Collective Action,” a one-day conference that coincided with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Fiftieth Session. The conference, co-sponsored by the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and the NYCLA, was part of a two-year advocacy effort of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Committee on the Status of Women, NY.

Wellesley Centers for Women

New Staff Examine Risks, Change, Resilience in Relationships

The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) recently welcomed Pamela Alexander, a senior research scientist whose work focuses on gender violence. Alexander, a recent senior research investigator at the Center for Research on Youth and Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Emory University, was on the psychology faculty at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), and held a tenured associate professorship in psychology at the University of Maryland. She has conducted research in the area of gender-based violence for more than 25 years.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Critical Mass on Corporate Boards: Why Three or More Women Enhance Governance

Does it matter to corporate governance whether women serve on a board? If so, does it make a difference how many women serve? That is, is there a critical mass that can bring significant change to the boardroom and improve corporate governance? My colleagues Vicki W. Kramer, Principal, V. Kramer Associates, and Alison M. Konrad, Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, and I set out to answer these important questions. Our findings shed light on a growing problem for organizations and society: not enough women are serving on corporate boards to the corporations’ detriment.

Wellesley Centers for Women

WCW International Programs Reach East

Research & Action Report Fall/Winter 2006

international work  The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) recently welcomed Rangita de-Silva de-Alwis, S.J.D. as senior advisor on international programs. A legal advocate with her LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School, de Silva-de Alwis also holds an appointment as a Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School, and brings a wealth of experience working with women’s groups in Asia on the rights of women and children.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Welcome

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.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Commentary: Sexual Harassment Left Behind: What the "bullying" framework is doing to the civil ri...

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Research & Action Report, Fall/Winter 2010

by Nan Stein, Ed.D.

On October 26, 2010, as this commentary went to press, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” to schools that clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminating harassment under civil rights laws: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.html.

The recent tragic cases of Phoebe Prince and Carl Wal ker -Hoover , two Massachusetts students who took their own lives after being allegedly bullied by their peers, force us to look carefully at the ways in which school personnel are treating and framing student-to-student interactions. I want to propose that, in fact, both children were sexually harassed by their peers; and to call it "bullying" minimizes what they endured.

 

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