WCW Blog

The Women Change Worlds blog of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) encourages WCW scholars and colleagues to respond to current news and events; disseminate research findings, expertise, and commentary; and both pose and answer questions about issues that put women's perspectives and concerns at the center of the discussion.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, famously characterized the human mind as a storehouse filled with two kinds of seeds: good and bad. Humans have the capacity to be both good and evil, he pointed out, and it’s the seeds we water that ultimately grow. Think about that.  When we look around the ...
About twenty years ago, I received some unbearable news about a dear friend.  A highly intelligent, strong, and beautiful woman of African-descent revealed to me that she contracted HIV as a result of having unprotected sex with a man who had the virus. Twenty years ago, I was convinced that the virus was an automatic death sentence for my friend. Thankfully, with advances in medical ...
“Someday you will go to college, too,” a young mother tells her eight year old son at her baccalaureate graduation ceremony. “Mom. You're silly,” he replies with a grin. “I already went to college with you!” Walking hand in hand in cap and gown with their children at graduation is a culminating moment for nearly all of the student parents who I ...
I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about our research on sexual violence case attrition and why most rape cases do not go forward to prosecution. The way that cases move through the criminal justice system has been a concern to victims, practitioners, and researchers for the last 40 ...
In the “New World Order,” nations are becoming multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-“colorful.” The act of embracing our common humanity remains a task for all to strive toward. Embracing the right of everyone to be different without judgment, is something we each can ...
Changing the Landscape of Hate After Pittsburgh This article was originally posted by Dana Rudolph on the Mombian blog, on October 30, 2018. This weeks marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. This landscape is familiar, strewn with ash and blood. We’ve been here before, too often, seeking the living, counting our dead. I know the terrain, can pick ...
Justice, Peace, and Wellbeing At the Wellesley Centers for Women, we envision a world of justice, peace, and wellbeing for women and girls, children and youth, families and communities, in all their diversity around the world. Like so many, our will and spirits have been tested by recent events, but our resolve has been strengthened. The fatal shooting of two African Americans in a ...
This commentary by Nan Stein and Bruce Taylor was originally published by Education Week on October 4, 2018. The sexual assault allegations leveled by psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford against U.S. Supreme Court ...
Emily Style’s beautiful phrase “curriculum as window and mirror” has had an enormous impact on my work as a teacher and teacher educator over the last 30 years. Other proponents of multicultural education have, over those years, deployed many more words to assert what curriculum ought to be and do. Emily’s lyrical imagery is testament to her skills as both poet and ...
When I first came across Emily Style’s words, “A good curriculum is both a window and a mirror,” I began realizing what had been missing in...
This article was posted by Amy Banks, M.D., on September 18, 2018 in her Wired for Love blog on Psychology Today. A number of years ago, a 15 year-old child hung herself after repeated, prolonged bullying by a group of peers. Phoebe Prince was different, but not that different. She had recently moved from a small town in Ireland to a small town in Massachusetts. In Phoebe’s case, ...
About 20 tweens pile into the unassuming studio space of their ballet school in mid-July. There are no frills here. The waiting area is small and a bit disheveled; the cinder block building has seen its share of life. But look closer: there’s magic inside. The dancers are not exactly sure what to expect from this week of “choreography camp,” but are glad to be there ...
This article was originally posted by Natália Marques on her Medium blog on June 4, 2018. I landed in Cape Verde on June 17th. I’ve been here for a while already, but as someone who has just spent the last four months ...
As a country we seem to be moving far away from the nurturing and sustaining activity of the settlement houses of our past. The first settlement house, established in New York City’s Lower East Side – Neighborhood Guild – was founded by Stanton Coit, and just a few years later came Hull House in Chicago, materializing through the passionate vision of Jane Addams. ...
This article was posted by Amy Banks, M.D., on June 19, 2018 in her Wired for Love blog on Psychology Today. Like many, I have been watching in horror the images of children taken from their parents, housed in caged containers, huddled under silver blankets. As the intellectual ...
We don’t live in an “either/or” world. Most non-sport institutions get this. It’s why Starbucks has unisex bathrooms, why there are forms to change your gender on government documents, why there is even a concept of “preferred pronouns.” But athletics remains stubbornly committed to a male-female dichotomy. Enforcement of that rigid divide is again ...
The Wellesley Centers for Women is mourning the death of Deborah Holmes, Chair of the WCW Council of Advisors and a passionate activist committed to the lives of women, people of color, equity, and social justice across the world. “Deborah understood the intersectionality of social justice causes as well as the necessity of making change on multiple fronts at once, and she lived ...
A few days ago, my eyes fell upon an online post discussing recent studies that showed how unpredictable work schedules in low-wage industries, especially food and retail, are really bad for families. The article ...
WCW and Old City Publishing named feminist writer and activist Jennifer Baumgardner as the new editor in chief of Women's Review of Books. She will be its third editor, after Amy Hoffman and WRB founder Linda Gardiner. Baumgardner was ...
A message from Open Circle, the elementary school social and emotional learning (SEL) program at the Wellesley Centers for Women: Since the start of the new year, 17 schools had experienced the terrifying reality of gun violence. Yesterday, unfortunately, the eighteenth school ...
As I reflected earlier this month on National Girls & Women in Sports Day, it felt different this year. Rather than a pumped-up opportunity to celebrate strides—the sweat, guts, and proficiency of female athletes—my conscience urges reflection. I can’t write about National Girls & Women in...
This blog was originally posted by the International Press Service News Agency and is reproduced with permission from the author. As the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York draws near, women from every corner ...
The fifth-grader’s voice was full of emotion as he shouted, “That’s not fair! What a mean thing to do!” He wasn’t upset about an event on the playground, or on the school bus. This student was reacting to an incident described in a picture book entitled Yoon and the Jade Bracelet, ...
By the end of my first year at Wellesley College, I knew that I wanted to explore the world of research. I had taken the first of many gender studies courses to come, and left class with a head full of questions that I not only wanted answers to, but wanted to take a stake at answering. A stroke of luck brought me to an event for students to meet with research scientists at the Wellesley ...
This blog was originally posted on Psychology Today and is reproduced with the permission of the author. The #MeToo movement is giving a viral voice to women (and men) who have been the targets of violence and harassment. It...
As we enter 2018 with eager anticipation, it is a natural part of the transition into the new year to establish personal and career resolutions. Many business leaders consider ways to refresh the strategy for their organizations seeking to answer questions such as “How can my team help our organization achieve its goals with a greater impact?” For Capgemini’s North ...
I have been a fan of MarketPlace: Handwork of India for decades, not simply because it is a Fair Trade organization but also because I love their clothing. I am the happy owner of many of their shirts (long and short sleeved), dresses (winter and summer), jackets, and wraps. Some of my clothes are ...
We all have heard it, women earn about 20 percent less than men. But when, how, and why does the gap emerge? Everyone has an opinion on it, and these opinions range widely – which leads to many frustrating public opinion exchanges. Are we eternally stuck in a rut arguing about what the ...
 In a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus earlier in October, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, made a public commitment to appoint an African American to its currently all-white board of directors – in the foreseeable future. The promise came ...
I applaud the strength and solidarity of the women (and men, too) who are asserting with the hashtag #MeToo, that they are among the estimated one in five women who ...
The Supreme Court of India ruled last week that sex with one’s wife under 18 years of age will be deemed as rape for which the husband can face up to 10 years of imprisonment. This judgement, being hailed ...
Since 1981, the United Nations has observed International Day of Peace on September 21. In its resolution, the UN marked the day as a “globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.” But how far along are we...
It’s back-to-school time and families, youth, and educators must adjust their schedules for another school year. In the midst of the forms and information families receive – or that get “lost” in a child’s backpack or locker – you may have heard something about a social and emotional learning (...
Friday, September 8, is International Literacy Day! In my opinion, every day should be called Literacy Day given its critical importance to all. This is especially true for very young children as developing language and pre-literacy skills are paramount to later academic success...
The Trump administration has announced the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This decision will affect 800,000 young people in our country. Within six months, they could lose their ...
In 1973, when I was 21, I dropped out of college in New Jersey and moved to Boston. I didn’t have a clear plan or strong reason for the move. A girl I knew, on whom I was developing a huge crush, had relocated here; so had my boyfriend (life was complicated). The bookstores in Harvard Square stayed open until midnight—in contrast to the town I’d grown up in, which had...
Why has it been so hard to eliminate racism in the United States, despite concerted and valiant efforts, ever-growing numbers of people of goodwill, lots of good thinking about the issue, and some clear-cut progress and gains over the years? As a researcher and director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, a research institute with a demonstrated commitment to gender equality, social ...
By now, parents and professionals have reacted to the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. Mental health advocates and school administrators have highlighted the risks of depicting suicide as a means of revenge, of dramatizing teen suicide, and of showing school counselors as uncaring and ...
It’s Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week! Perhaps we should back up - what is an Afterschool Professional? Maybe you call them staff, teachers, or care providers. There are many names for the same thing – someone trained to work with youth during out-of-school time. This ...
When Arizona high school senior Becca Longo on Wednesday officially signed on to be a kicker for Division II Adams State University Football, it was notable for a key ...
January is National Mentoring Month, a time to recognize the value of mentoring in all its forms. Kavindya Thennakoon ‘19, a student assistant in the WCW communications department, reflects on the profound impact that mentors have had on her path to Wellesley ...
2016 was an intense year. The Wall Street Journal’s Year in Review captured the feeling quite well with this headline: “The World Order in Flux.” It has felt that way not only in the geopolitical sphere, but also in the ecological sphere and the psychological sphere. ...
One of the central themes of the work we do at Open Circle is relationship building. Developing and nurturing positive and meaningful relationships in schools within the adult community, among the student body and between adults and students is the foundation for creating a learning environment in which everyone feels cared for, can be their best self and do their best learning. In ...
The Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation, (PCE) my persistent mission and struggle, is building a firm foundation for Uganda's rural young people as well as shaping the attitude and consciousness of the grassroots people. This World AIDS Day, ...
Yesterday was the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women—is the glass half empty of half full?  It is clear that this day calling for the elimination of violence against women is still necessary—in fact, it is crucial. Despite notable ...
This article originally appeared in Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. It’s one thing ...
In 1954, the United Nations established Universal Children’s Day (November 20) to promote togetherness and children’s rights. It is a day that reminds and encourages us to work towards a better future by improving the wellbeing of children all across the globe. In recognition of Universal Children’s Day, Joan Wallace-Benjamin, ...
The International Day of Tolerance (November 16) was established in 1995 by the United Nations to help increase public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. In our current climate of heightened intolerance both in public discourse and acts of violence, we need no reminders--but we do need clarity and strategies to build our strength and effectiveness as activists who choose to respond ...

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