Challenge: In Wisconsin and around the world, women experience challenges to their health and wellbeing that are rooted in underlying inequalities related to gender, race, poverty, and other factors.

Vision: The 4W mission is to leverage the strengths of UW-Madison to be a convener and leading voice in education, applied research, and impactful engagement to promote global wellbeing and full participation of women in society.

The 4W Women and Wellbeing Initiative is a campus-wide effort hosted at the School of Human Ecology with robust representation from UW-Madison’s diverse array of schools, colleges, institutes, and programs.

Our Leadership

Our Leadership Circle

The 4W Leadership Circle is a collective of leaders representing almost all schools and colleges, working to make life better for women and make the world better for all.

4W Conveners: Engaging Our Campus

Lori DiPrete Brown

Director, 4W Initiative

“The opportunities for women in our world today are as great as the challenges. We who are involved with 4W—faculty, staff, students, supporters, and community partners—find hope, joy, and purpose in this shared work. We proceed with the awareness that we ourselves are a work in progress. We aim to grow in our ability to place the lived experiences of women and historically marginalized people at the center of our concerns. It is by directing the assets of UW-Madison toward these concerns that we make life better for women, make the world better for all, and provide an example of the ways in which higher education can engage in transformative societal change.”

Soyeon Shim

Lead Dean, School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison

“From the very beginning, 4W’s leadership saw how women’s wellbeing intimately influenced the wellbeing of children, families, marketplaces, and communities the world over. They saw that human ecology nexus and invested in it wholeheartedly. I am proud that SoHE provided fertile ground to seed the 4W Initiative several years ago and that it has since gone on, thanks to the generous support of donors and grantmakers, to flower into such an impactful organization today.”

Lori DiPrete Brown Judith H. Camblin* Kathy A. Chazen Sherry K. Coatney and David H. Niemi John P. Cox* Robert Devlin and Jeremy Pevner* Julia M. and Jeffrey J. Diermeier Diane K. Endres Ballweg Janet C. Floeter Karlynn A. and David N. Fronek Claire Gaudiani Girl Wonderful, LLC Peter J. Graham and Rachel B. Stern Graham Nan Guptill Crain and Robert L. Crain* Sharon G. Hadary Karen Kendrick-Hands Kathleen Harker* Marlene T. and Robert J. Hartzman Linda S. and Steven A. Haugland Bobette F. and Lynn C. Heller* Ronnie L. Hess and Monroe H. Rosner Shirley J. and George R. Hildreth Su Hilty* Debra M. Holt Jamie W. Holzhuter Marcia H. and Thomas G. Innis Catherine G. Nelson and David F. Jarecki Alison M. Johnson Judy H. and Gary L. Jorgensen* Madeline D. Kanner (deceased June 10, 2017) Jane M. Kellner* Laura A. Killingsworth Rebecca J. Kish 4W Endowments Mary E. and Alan H. Koepke Misty L. Kurek Silvia Larco Donna L. Leet Jill S. Lundberg Jennifer M. and Jeff McFarland Lynn K. Mecklenburg Jeanne M. Meier Mary Kaye Merwin David C. Metler Heather M. and James P. Monkmeyer Marrisa D. Mora Dorothy A. O’Brien and Richard L. Antoine Judith C. and Philip K. Olson Susan M. Paskewitz* Courtney L. Poja Joan Price* Joyce Remeny-Schwartz* Kathryn M. Richardson Susan Riseling and Joanne E. Berg Jacqueline K. Ruf Elizabeth H. and Mark F. Schar* Margaret G. Shields Ruth Shneider Brown* Louise A. Silberman and Chris Galle Michelle A. Smeby Sheila F. and Ronald G. Spaeth Sandra G. Sponem Linda B. Stern Nancy O. Sukenik* Martha A. Taylor and Gary L. Antoniewicz* Jane R. Thiele Candace F. and John W. Vegter Lorna Jorgenson Wendt (deceased February 4,2016) Mary Ann West Virginia and Richard White* Kristi A. and Roger T. Williams Susan J. and James M. Witz Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region Jacquelyn M. and Gregory H. Zehner Bold: Gifts to major initiatives, named funds, and endowments *: Gifts made in honor or memory of another individual Janet Hyde, PhD

Janet Hyde

Chair, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin- Madison

“The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies is united with the 4W Initiative in working toward the wellbeing of women in Wisconsin, the nation, and around the world. Gender and Women’s Studies does its part by offering dozens of relevant courses for undergraduates, such as our gender and women’s health course. Our faculty conduct pathbreaking research on gender and women’s issues. We are proud to be a co- convener of the 4W Initiative, which has ignited such excitement on campus.”

Jonathan Patz

Jonathan Patz

Founding Director, Global Health Institute, UW-Madison

“Women are critical to addressing the crises facing us today: climate change, institutional racism, and the pandemic.”

Rebecca Blank, PHDRebecca Blank

Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013-2022)

“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 wellbeing.”

4W leaders, supporters, and director come together in this commercial to spread the mission of who we are at 4W.


webinar flyer with speakers

Click here to watch a Feminist Fireside Chat webinar on “Feminist Leadership, Education, and the Future: Can We Build Back Better?”

Bring more depth to the conversation with an article from DiPrete Brown and Dahlquist: Feminist Leadership and the 4W Initiative.

4W Director, Lori DiPrete Brown, highlights the work of 4W at Madison Civics Club.

4W’s session for 31 Days of Women & Leadership Learning: “Self-Care, Joy, and Thriving: Essential Practices for Leadership from the 4W Initiative”

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