Convened by the School of Human Ecology, the Global Health Institute, the Department of gender and Women’s Studies, the UW-Madison has established the campus-wide 4W initiative, which aims to make life better for women and make the world better for all. Faculty-led action research at UW-Madison will result in measurable benefits in the communities where we serve as a partner for change. The program will focus on women’s health, leadership and wellbeing in private sector, government and civil society.


To achieve measurable improvements in women’s health, wellbeing, equality and empowerment, and, in so doing, to positively impact the quality of life for families and communities.


To establish UW-Madison as a convener, catalyst and leader in advancing wellbeing and full participation of women in society. The 4W Initiative will support action research, train leaders, and provide a global platform for exchange related to research, policy and practice.


  • UW-Madison graduates from a broad range of fields will be prepared to serves as leaders in education, research and practice related to women and global wellbeing.
  • A variety of 4W programs will be realized within a holistic framework that emphasizes basic needs and human rights, thriving throughout the life cycle, leadership and empowerment, and the development of strong communities based on principles of eco-justice. These programs will develop and document best practices, and contribute to the spread of these practices through partnerships and outreach education.
  • The 4W platform for exchange will include an Annual Summit, policy forums, a website, and interactive digital engagement that will establish UW-Madison as a convener, catalyst and leader in relation to timely topics and major challenges related to women and well-being.


To date, this new program has successfully launched initiatives in: 1) health care, family planning and mental health, 2) working to end human trafficking, 3) micro-enterprise, 4) women and agriculture, 5) relationships and equality, and 6) engaging with the arts for wellbeing.

I am so proud to be leading this initiative! To learn more about 4W please visit https://sohe.wisc.edu/4w and follow us on twitter @4WMadison. I would love to hear your thoughts about women and well being. Feel free to comment below.