Wellesley Centers for Women

At the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), Wellesley College, we believe that disciplined, relevant research and theory paired with innovative training and action programs are key building blocks for social progress.
Since 1974, WCW has conducted interdisciplinary studies on issues such as: gender equity in education, sexual harassment in schools, child care, adolescent development, gender violence, and women’s leadership—studies that have influenced private practices and public policy.
WCW staff members provide professional development for educators, child caregivers, and youth workers that encourage children’s social-emotional development and enhance learning environments and safety.
Other WCW scholars have dedicated themselves to the prevention of psychological problems, the enhancement of psychological well-being, and the search for a more comprehensive understanding of human development through theory development and research. WCW’s international collaborations strive to improve the lives of women and girls across the globe.


106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203
Ph. 781-283-2500
Fx. 781-283-2504


Featured Events


Projects & Campaigns

Child and Adolescent Development

Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted research studies and evaluations on issues related to child and adolescent development, including issues around race, ethnicity, immigrant status, and identity; the effects of early child care; the value of physical activity; preventing depression; examining unique family dynamics; and exploring sexuality and evaluating sex-education programming.


Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have studied the ability of public schools to prepare young children for lifelong learning and have shaped local, state, and federal policies. Our groundbreaking research, policy development, and training programs set the standards for out-of-school time, and continue to inform the field in new areas, including physical activity programming.

Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) have conducted research on a range of educational issues, including quality early education; equitable opportunities in STEM fields and literacy; and bullying prevention and sex-education programming. Scholars and trainers from WCW have also developed curricula and facilitated programs that promote equity and diversity and social-emotional learning in educational settings. Our research has raised public consciousness about serious education issues and has informed public policy.
Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted numerous research studies on issues related to gender violence, including bullying- and sexual harassment-prevention programs in schools, and patterns of and interventions for intimate partner violence, including family violence and teen dating violence.
Work by scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women led to Relational-Cultural Theory, an understanding that has dramatically changed counseling and psychotherapy practices. Through training institutes, this work continues to be developed and implemented. Researchers committed to the prevention of depression in at-risk youth have undertaken studies to identify effective intervention programming for adolescents and families. Trainers and educators at the Centers develop curricula and facilitate training to promote social-emotional learning in elementary schools.
Scholars are the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted research on economic implications of public policy; undertaken studies and audits; facilitated network building; and produced valuable resources for advocates, policy makers, and legal professionals in the U.S. and abroad. This work covers a broad range of issues related to the social and economic development of women, children, and persons with disabilities.
Scholars at the Wellesley Centers undertake research initiatives that explore issues affecting work/life balance, including child care, work-leave policies, and gender roles. Research and action programs that address women’s leadership inform business practice and policy in the U.S. and within our global-network-partner communities. The Women’s Review of Books, a special publication of the Centers, puts women’s perspectives and voices at the center of literary contributions.


Reports & Resources

For all publications, click here.


Center News

Video of Sumru Erkut speaking on the Critical Mass Project
Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:26pm

Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., associate director and senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women, conducted a study called the Critical Mass Project. The goal of the study was to determine how many women were needed on a corporate board in order for their contributions to make a real difference. Watch the video to learn more.

News from Wellesley Centers for Women
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 5:17pm

The 2011 Introductory Institute of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI), a three-day program (October 21-23) held at Wellesley College, provides an intensive study of Relational-Cultural Theory and its direct applications in the world. In addition to interactive presentations and workshops led by Institute Faculty, learning activities will include small and large group case discussions, community-building, role-plays, and multi-media presentations.  Registration is required!

October 21st: The 4th annual Jean Baker Miller Memorial Lecture, featuring Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., professor of education at Colby College in Waterville, ME and co-creator of Hardy Girls, Healthy Women. Brown will present "Fighting LIke a Girl: How Girls Can and Do Make a Difference." 

WCW hosts Muslim Women Leaders Network in Morocco
Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 4:24pm

On May 16th and 17th, 2011 the Wellesley Center for Women in Partnership with the Ministry of the Interior of the Kingdom of Morocco reconvened the Rabat Roundtable in efforts to provide momentum for women's issues, including UN Proposition 1325. 


WCW Director Rangita de Silva-de Alwis wrote on WCWonline, "February 11th, 2011, marks a singular turning point in the history of the world. The events in Egypt and in other countries propel us to seize the transformative potential of this moment in history to reconvene our Roundtable on Women Leading Change in Morocco." Read more from director Rangita de Silva-de Alwis here. 


For an updated report on the agenda and discussions at the  Rabat Roundtable read the WCW Spring/Summer Action Report here.

Women and Sports: Get in the Game
Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 11:12am

What causes (or thwarts) a thriving sports career for professional women athletes? Laura Pappano, writer-in-residence at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), will share historic trends and recent data about gender equity in sports.

Date and Time: Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 11:45 a.m. - 2:00 p.m
Location: The New York Athletic Club
Click here for more information

The Intersection of CEDAW and CRPD
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 12:12pm

This report examines a new model built on advancing an intersectional human rights platform of action.

Read more here!

New and Emerging Developments in Gender and Law in China
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 12:04pm

This report is a compilation of the papers presented by Chinese gender and the law experts on new and emerging developments in gender-based law reform in China at a closed-door strategy meeting at Wellesley College in September 2009.

Find more information here! 

Newest R&A Report Highlights WCW's Current Work
Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 3:24pm

The spring/summer 2010 issue of Research & Action Report is now available in print and online.

Click here to read more!

New and Emerging Developments in Gender and Law in China
Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 11:21am

This report is a compilation of the papers presented by Chinese gender and the law experts on new and emerging developments in gender-based law reform in China at a closed-door strategy meeting at Wellesley College in September 2009. 

 Download it for free here!