Mission And Core Principles

“To Make Life Better For Women And Make The World Better For All”

We 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.

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

Core Principles

The 4W Initiative is grounded in human rights principles. This means working toward equal rights for women and girls as an end in itself, while also recognizing the important role that women play in sustaining families, communities, civil society, local and global economies and our earth. 4W values build on each other, beginning with basic needs and freedom from harm, and moving toward full agency and global leadership.

4W activities will incorporate the following core principles:

  1. Basic needs and human rights;
  2. Equality for women;
  3. Leadership; and
  4. Fully inclusive sustainable communities.

Expected Outcomes

Prepare students for leadership

Through courses, action research, internships and community engagement, UW-Madison graduates from a broad range of fields will be prepared to serve as leaders in education, research, and practice related to women and global wellbeing.

Make change within communities

Faculty-led action research at UW-Madison will result in measurable benefits in the communities where we serve as a partner for change. The Initiative is open to a broad range of topics where there is strong leadership, partnerships or activities underway, a feasible action plan, and a strong potential to make life better for women. Examples of projects to date include: 1) working to end human trafficking, 2) supporting wellbeing through microenterprise, 3) fostering equality in relationships and financial decision-making skills, 4) improving access to health care.

Embody thought leadership at UW-Madison

The 4W Initiative will establish UW-Madison as a convener and academic leader in relation to women and wellbeing through an annual summit and related activities. Through a holistic approach, and a local to global perspective, we address urgent topics related to women and wellbeing. We host policy fora, as well as annual 4W Awards for global leadership related to women and wellbeing. We are also the home of a UNESCO Chair on Gender, Wellbeing, and a Culture of Peace. The 4W Initiative aims to provide leadership for institutions of higher education, and to have a global impact on research, education, policy, and practice.


4W Reports

  • 2018 Progress Report
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • In Brief