Addressing a Critical Need
The IWL consortium serves as both a prominent forum for intellectual exchange and a vital source of information about women’s leadership. This structure is exemplary in its ability to work collaboratively and enable units to speak and act collectively. The consortium values feminist perspectives, evidence based-research, intersectional analysis, inclusion and community.
IWL Consortium members are at the forefront of examining key questions around diversity and leadership.
- How do outsiders become leaders?
- How do they mobilize others to lead social change and transform the institutions that have excluded them?
- What are the contexts that develop and support diverse leadership?
- What difference do women leaders make?
Our programs, research, and the collective work of the IWL consortium position Rutgers University-New Brunswick as a premier site for deepening research and expanding opportunities to develop women’s leadership for social change.
The growth and success of the Women’s Studies Program, Center for American Women in Politics, the Institute for Research on Women, and later the Center for Women’s Global Leadership brought national and international prominence to Douglass College and to Rutgers. The heads of these units, including Ruth B. Mandel, Carol Smith, Cora Kaplan, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Charlotte Bunch, began meeting regularly in the late 1980s to explore possibilities for the future and to work collaboratively to address challenges.
Convened by Mary S. Hartman, then dean of Douglass College, this group brainstormed a vision for women’s education that would build on established success and address the next great challenge for women–advancing to leadership and decision-making positions in all arenas. This brainstorming gave rise to the creation of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), a Rutgers consortium of academic units, research centers and institutes on women.
The IWL was conceived as a means both to amplify the voices and trumpet the accomplishments of its constitutive units. The consortium is a collaborative endeavor, designed to create a new synergy to address leadership issues and to advance women. Working together, the consortium preserves and enhances the member units through greater program coordination, strategic fund-raising, and appropriate resource sharing.
Officially launched in 1991, the IWL board of directors, which now encompasses the directors and associate directors of the constitutive units including the dean of Douglass Residential College, is organized on the basis of equality. Programming decisions are made and priorities are set by consensus. Information sharing, networking, and strategic planning to address challenges within Rutgers and in the larger world outside the university remain central aspects of board meetings.
Shortly after its founding, the Institute added the Center for Women and Work, directed by Dorothy Sue Cobble at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (1993). In 2007, under Judith Brodsky and Ferris Olin’s leadership, the Institute for Women and Art (now the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities) joined the consortium. In 2008, the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, under the direction of Vice President Joan Bennett, became the eighth member unit of the Institute for Women’s Leadership. The Center on Violence Against Women and Children, directed by Judy Postmus, became the ninth consortium member in 2011.
IWL Consortium Members
Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities (2006)
Kavitha Ramsamy, Faculty Director
640 Bartholomew Road #125A
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (SciWomen) (2007)
Joan Bennett, Faculty Director
Crystal Bedley, Interim Director
640 Bartholomew Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Center on Violence Against Women and Children, School of Social Work (2007)
Sarah McMahon, Director
536 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901