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Second Annual
4W Summit on Women, Gender and Well-being


40th Wisconsin Women and Gender Studies Conference

Equity, Sustainability, Empowerment


Keynotes and Plenaries

All taking place in the Alumni Lounge

Thursday, April 27, 4:00

Soffa Lecture and 4W Keynote: Vandana Shiva ~ Women Lead the Way: From violence to Non violence, from greed to sharing, from hate to love

Gerda Lerner Film and director’s talk: “Why Women Need to Climb Mountains" a film by Renata Keller

Grassroots activist, social reformer, writer, and pioneering feminist historian Gerda Lerner can be called one of the most inspiring women of the 20th century. This documentary (English and German) Why Women Need to climb Mountains – A journey through the life and work of Dr. Gerda Lerner shows in detail her courageous life and work and asks the question: How does knowing our history affect our potential to shape the future? The exploration of the film reaches back into the revolutionary awakening of women in the 20th century, and stretches into the 21st century with the question: what is next?


Friday, April 28, 9:15-11:45

Plenary I: Transformative Transnational Feminism: Theory and Praxis for the Future of Feminism

The birth of transnational feminism responded to an urgent need to bridge feminist endeavors across boundaries of identity and geography under neo-liberal market globalization. The plenary speakers argue that transformational built on a foundation of transnational feminism is essential to the women’s wellbeing internationally.  They will discuss models of transnational feminist activism and pedagogies that have helped to shift what some have called theSavior Complex’ of feminism based in white western women’s experience to a transformative feminism built upon shared access to defining actions and power sharing.

This movement has raised theoretical questions regarding the problem of who has the authority to intervene in another culture given West/East, North/South, economic, and racial privilege.  Dr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has assailed the deliberate aporia of “Eastern women’s voice consciousness” in Western feminisms. Dr. Leila Ahmed has critiqued the intuitive nature of US women’s conviction that Islam is oppressive. Joyce Zonana has explained that “Feminist Orientalism” facilitates Western feminists’ need for “self -redemption.” In answer to these dilemmas, Dr. Chandra Talpade Mohanty has asserted that transnational solidarity is achieved through anticapitalist struggle. Author, poet and activist Gloria Anzaldua asserted that privileged outsiders can adopt the double consciousness of racial and sexual “minorities.” Dr. Sandra Harding offers standpoint theory. Others have emphasize giving deference to local feminists in defining struggles and activist actions they may demand. 

The panelists will discuss whether intercultural, transformative feminist collaborations that involve diverse negotiations and complex relationships can be equitably structured given that collaboration necessitates power sharing. They will ask the following questions regarding how we approach our research, teaching, and activism.  To what extent can outsiders’ interventions be unbiased? How can outsiders identify local feminist leadership? Should outsiders always refrain from aggressive interventions?  How can we structure our classrooms in ways that allow transnational activists and scholars to speak for themselves? The panelists will reaffirm that transformational feminism is essential to women’s wellbeing globally and discuss models of transnational feminist activism and pedagogies based on their praxis.  

(Some presenters will join us virtually)

Plenary II: Democracy, Gender and Transformative Education in Europe: The Case of Spain

This plenary of international scholars will examine the development and transformations that Equality Public Policies have introduced in the field of citizenship, gender relations and education in Spain. From its beginnings in the 80s, the young Spanish democracy developed policies that supported gender equality as a consubstantial part of democracy. The speakers will first analyze the role of the European Union and women's movements in the implementation of gender equality. Next, they will examine Gender Equality Laws in Spain, and the changes they have introduced in Spanish society. Finally, they will analyze the development of Gender Studies in Spanish Academia.

Panelists from Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain:

(Some presenters will join us virtually)


Saturday, April 29, 9:15-10:30

Plenary III: African American Women Beyond the Stereotypes: Mental health, Resilience, and Sustainability

Academia and the media often present very narrow perspectives of African American women. This session will explore the multilayered identities and roles of African American women with a focus on mental health and wellness, resiliency, and African American women's frequently ignored role within the sustainability movement. The panelists will also explore the impact of the political, economic, and social climates within the U.S. on African American women and how they have managed to survive and thrive amid often hostile environments. This session is being sponsored by the African American Health Network of Dane County.

Detailed Description of Topics:

Dr. Ward

  • “He (Primary Care Doctor) recommended counseling. At first I did not want to go, because you know how us Black folks feel about counseling. Plus, I didn’t want anyone to think I am “crazy.” The above quote vividly conveys the negative impact of stigma among African American women; the result, they suffer in silence. Despite the increasing prevalence of mental illnesses among African American women, their use of mental health services is low, in part due to the stigma associated with mental illness. Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher coined the phrase “There is No Health Without Mental Health” to address the stigma of mental illness. With this context in mind, Dr. Ward will discuss 1. African American women’s perceptions of mental illness, stigma and their preferred coping responses to mental illness; and 2. Getting rid of stigma to promote mental health and well-being among African American women.

Dr. Dilworth-Bart

  • Many of you have heard of her – the Strong Black Woman. This Superwoman can power through adversity with a grace that she extends to all around her with enviable psychological strength. But, who is this woman?  Is she even real?  Is the “strength” to withstand any stressor truly achievable without supportive relationships?  In her presentation, Dr. Dilworth-Bart will challenge this trope of the Strong Black Woman and seek to redefine her as the Resilient Black Woman. Her discussion will focus on defining resilience as a series of interpersonal and community processes that promote child and family wellbeing. In particular, she will address how safe and nurturing environments at the earliest stages of life are essential setting the stage for positive lifespan outcomes. 

Annette Miller

  • While African Americans are not well represented in the traditional environmental movement, living sustainably has been a culturally traditional way of life. For centuries we have focused on improving our local economy, fought for equity and lived a collective life of reusing and repurposing items. We built our community around pooling resources. Long before it became a popular academic term, sustainability was the platform for which we survived and began to thrive in America.


Saturday, April 29, 1:00-2:00

Plenary IV: Social Transformations to End Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex (STREETS):  Survivor and Educator Perspectives on Human Trafficking Education

An update of STREETS activities and a presentation of the preliminary results from a STREETS study with educators and survivors of trafficking.


Saturday, April 29, 4:45-6:15

Plenary V: Multiple Ways of Knowing: Insights Grounded in Indigenous Experiences

How can universities create a nurturing space for indigenous scholars?  What should a dynamic and reciprocal relationship between Native Americans and academia look like? Native graduate students and faculty at UW-Madison describe community-based indigenous research and the climate needed to help them succeed.

  • Ada Deer (Menominee), former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior—Bureau of Indian Affairs and Distinguished Lecturer Emerita, UW-Madison, shares her observations about Indian education in America.
  • Rachel Byington (Choctaw), Madison Metropolitan School District Title VII Instructional Resource Teacher, shares the results of her study looking at the impact of cultural programs that teach elements of traditional practices with an environmental focus on urban American Indian youth.
  • Clifton Skye (Standing Rock Sioux), Ph.D. Candidate, UW-Madison Civil Society & Community Studies discusses his research into public policy, historical trauma, and PTSD.
  • Becca Dower (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), graduate student UW-Madison Civil Society & Community Studies shares her research on indigenous food systems and food sovereignty.
  • Kendra Teague, Program Administrator-Building Sustainability Pathways, American Indian College Fund, discusses ways in which the College Fund is working with Tribal Colleges and Universities to strengthen and enhance institutional capacity related to environmental sciences and related fields with a focus on integration of place-based approaches and knowledge, intergenerational knowledge exchange toward preservation of Native life ways related to environmental stewardship and sustainability.
  • Connie Flanagan, Associate Dean and Professor, UW-Madison School of Human Ecology, shares the approach SoHE takes to empower Native graduate students.
  • Moderator, Patty Loew (Bad River Ojibwe), Professor, UW-Madison Department of Civil Society & Community Studies


Conference Co-chairs:

Lori DiPrete Brown, Director, UW-Madison 4W Initiative
Helen Klebesadel, Director, UW Women's and Gender Studies Consortium

Special Thanks to the Summit Planning Committee

Summit Contacts:

Helen Klebesadel, Director
UW Women's and Gender Studies Consortium
Email:, Phone:  608-262-3056

Dace Zeps, Program Administrator
Center for Research on Gender and Women, UW-Madison, Phone: 608-263-2053

The 4W Summit co-convenors and sponsors are honored to be
holding this conference under the auspices of the
UNESCO Chair on Gender, Wellbeing, and a Culture of Peace 
as part of a global United Nations Platform
on education, science, and culture.