Making life better for women, and the world better for all


222 Million

women do not have access to family planning

In the village of Godo



of working women are in vulnerable employment

Artisan Visit (Square)

JOIN US for the 2nd Annual 4W Summit

bollosknot2smApril 27-29, 2017:

"Transformative Education: Equity, Sustainability, Empowerment"

You can watch highlights from the 2016 Summit here.



The 4W Leadership Circle is a collective of leaders from a range of fields, working to make life better for women and make the world better for all.

Lori DiPrete Brown is 4W Director

Lori DiPrete Brown  4W Director

Molly Clark-Barol is 4W Project Associate

Molly Clark-Barol      4W Project Associate

Soraya Vaezi is the 4W Intern

Soraya Vaezi                  4W Intern

Meet Our Leaders


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Diversity in the Scientific Workforce: Evidence to Practice

Dr. Carnes has worked to make STEMM fields (science, technology, engineering mathematics, and medicine) more diverse and academic culture more inclusive.

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Women and Peacebuilding in Africa

UW Madison’s Center for Research on Gender and Women is part of a three-institution consortium on women and peacebuilding. The research addresses three themes: Inclusion and Exclusion of Women in Postconflict Governance; Women Activists’ Informal Peacebuilding Strategies; and Women’s Legal Rights as a Site of Contestation in North Africa

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Gender, Human Rights, and Climate Change

In Human Rights Approaches to Climate Change, Sumudu Atapattu describes how climate change will exacerbate existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. Gendered power differentials in many parts of the world already result in disproportionate workloads, higher levels of poverty, and greater human insecurity for women, disparities that are likely to be aggravated by climate-induced migration and extreme weather events.

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Access to Information: Women’s Knowledge Digital Library

The WKDL offers lists of resources, including websites, reports, articles, research, and audiovisual materials, that are available to students and researchers across the UW system as well as the general public. These lists are curated by topics ranging from Aging to Female Genital Mutilation to Zines.

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Gender, Eco-Justice, and the Commons

Our environmental commons project focuses on ways to educate younger generations about of the fundamental interdependence of humans with one another and with other species and life forms, as well as intersectional issues of identity (including gender) and power and about how our collective choices as humans impact the wellbeing of current and future generations of humans and species we may never meet. Connie Flanagan is conducting a mixed methods study of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) and the Southeastern Michigan Stewardship (SEMIS) Coalition’s Place-Based Stewardship Education (PBSE) model with several hundred K-12 students, most of whom are from ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds.

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Women and One Health

“One Health” refers to the interdependencies of health among humans, animals, and shared ecosystems. The Women and One Health effort is a cluster of interrelated projects that employ participatory methods and women- and girl-centered approaches to contribute to educational programs and assessment methods, and to inform the research agenda. The projects explore the various ways that women can achieve equity and well-being, as they contribute to agricultural productivity, animal welfare, family economics, and health

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Earth Science Women’s Network

The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) is an international peer-mentoring network of women in the Earth Sciences, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers. Their mission is to promote career development, to build community, to provide opportunities for informal mentoring, and to support professional collaborations. Providing more opportunities for women to advance in science supports discovery, innovation, and gender equity.

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Leadership in Women’s Philanthropy

Leadership in Women’s Philanthropy builds on the historic role that UW-Madison has played in women’s philanthropy. This research and networking effort will explore and articulate future directions in women and philanthropy and provide ongoing networking, locally and nationally.

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Arts and Wellbeing

The Arts and Wellbeing project recognizes the importance of the arts in personal and social transformations and as a critical part of individual and social health and well-being. Working to support the many efforts at UW-Madison, including the Arts Institute’s Interdisciplinary Artists in Residence Program, and in collaboration with various units across campus, we seek to develop opportunities for visiting artists and artists in residence to expand their reach and programming both on campus and in local communities.

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The Declaration Initiative

The Declaration Initiative marshals evidence from the health and social sciences to document current and historical inequalities in precursors to successful and full participation in contemporary American society, basing its framework on the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Design and Microenterprise

The Wellbeing through Design and Microenterprise Project seeks to support community and family well-being through economic empowerment. The project connects the work and lives of artisans to the educational experiences of our students. The Microenterprise Project currently works with women from Ecuador, Mexico, India and Nepal. The project has also supported the expansion of market opportunities for these groups in their local settings, a permanent retail outlet at the Robin’s Nest Badger Market in the School of Human Ecology and, product sales on campus and venues throughout Madison.

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MORE: Money + Relationships + Equality

The MORE (Money + Relationships + Equality) Initiative was created to establish equality for women and men in relationships, family life, and financial decision making, while embracing the central questions of self-worth, purpose and meaning-making throughout the life course. MORE educates women and men of all ages, in classroom settings and beyond, with the understanding that full equality for women cannot be accomplished without education and behavior change of the men with whom they partner. MORE is founded on the Wisconsin Idea principles of outreach, research and education.

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STREETS (Social Transformations to End Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex) is contributing to the end of human trafficking through education and action research that is grounded in the perspectives and preferences of survivors.  Activities include education and outreach through courses, mentoring, internships and research; improving practice in service provision for survivors and outcome measurement; creating local and global women-centered partnerships; developing training tools and other online resources; influencing policy and the strategic targeting of funding for effective interventions; and exploring how technology may be used in innovative ways to identify and support women and girls affected by trafficking or other forms of gender-based violence.

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Health By Any Means

The primary focus of Health by Any Means (HbAM) is to create change and change agents from within communities to improve health outcomes and the general wellbeing of women and girls, especially in the global south. HbAM started in 2009 in rural Kenya as Health by Motorbike, providing health education for women and adolescent girls through “train-the-trainers” programs and through the basic distribution of health services on mobile clinics via motorbikes. In 2013, the project received the UN Award for Public Service for its work with women and girls, health, and sustainable development.



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Rebecca Blank, PhD

Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“The School of Human Ecology, the Global Health Institute and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies have created 4W with a strong partnership that brings together top researchers from many fields to focus on one central question: How do we harness the power of scientific knowledge to improve the lives of women around the world?  This program can have a deep and lasting impact on women, their families and their communities. And by creating international leadership and service learning opportunities for our students, 4W will inspire a new generation of scholars dedicated to women’s health and well-being.”

Soyeon Shim, PhD

Dean, School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison

“When women suffer, everyone suffers – men, children, communities and families. The challenges facing women in Wisconsin and around the globe are multifaceted, thorny, and stubborn. Big problems need big thinkers. The 4W Initiative brings together alumni, students, innovators, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and communities to find answers where none exist, and to do so with empathy. That’s why I am proud to be part of this initiative, and excited about the future.”


Jonathan Patz, MD, MPH

Director, Global Health Institute, UW-Madison

“Women hold the key to health at home, in their communities, across their nations, and around the globe.”

Judith Houck, PhD

Director, Gender & Women’s Studies Department, UW-Madison

“Gender and Women’s studies scholars offer important expertise in understanding gender roles, in the present, historically, and across cultures.  The 4W Initiative allows us to collaborate across campus, so that gender analysis can become an integral part of the research, education and outreach at UW-Madison.”