Yay Wellesley Centers for Women!
By Katherine Connolly
Crisis management – fixing things after they have already gone wrong – is certainly a worthy cause. Prevention is better than cure, though: discover the roots of a problem through research and teach people how to resolve it through education, and you can fix the problem for good. In the world of sexual violence, objectification, and economic inequality, many argue that we have focused for too long on crisis management – treating survivors, telling women to be careful not to put themselves in risky situations - and should instead focus on preventative action, researching gender discrimination and violence and using the findings to try and solve the problem at the root.
Wellesley Centers for Women is at the center of this mission. WCW first opened its doors in 1974, and rapidly grew into a major research facility. Today, WCW has more than forty projects underway at any one time. WCW studies focus on patterns of gender-related violence, gender law, the social and economic status of women in the US and around the world and many other gender-based topics. The end goal, however, is always using the studies to educate.
“What makes us distinctive is our commitment to the translation of research and theory into action,” says Dr. Layli Maparyan, Executive Director of WCW. Clearly, that commitment is translating into action, as WCW has produced over 700 publications in the last thirty-eight years (including over 100 books) and participated in innumerable conventions, summits and other events. Young women from Wellesley College can apply to study at the centers, and there are several interns every year as well as recent grads working full-time. Today, WCW is the largest women’s center in the U.S. – or as WCW describes itself, ‘gender-focused social science research-and-action organization.’
Let’s rewind. ‘Gender-focused social science.’ ‘Research and action.’ All done at an intellectual women’s college, with young women actively assisting with the research?
Sounds to me like positive change powered by girl.