Campuswide women's rights initiative looks to partner with ASM

The Associated Students of Madison Student Council heard a presentation Wednesday from 4W, a campuswide initiative advocating for women’s rights.

4W, which stands for “For Women, For Well-Being, For Wisconsin, For the World,” aims to change the lives of women and ultimately change the world, according to its website. It bridges several academic departments at UW-Madison, including the School of Human Ecology, the Global Health Institute and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Lori DiPrete Brown, associate director for education and engagement in the Global Health Institute, said one of 4W’s primary goals is to engage student leaders in spreading the word across campus to gain awareness for their cause.

This April, 4W will hold their first on-campus summit on gender and well-being. Brown said speakers will include former UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala and activist Tererai Trent.

An art exhibit will also appear at the summit, including quilts, pictures and murals related to sex trafficking.

“I would like the room to be uncomfortable, to show everybody on campus that students really care about social justice for everyone,” Brown said.

One of 4W’s main projects includes an anti-sex trafficking initiative, which aims to eliminate the practice in Madison and around the world.

“This is a really, really powerful movement,” Brown said. “This is about distortions in society and distortions in power that can be wiped out.”

Another program through the organization, the Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, connects UW-Madison students skilled in design, retail and engineering with artisans in many countries to collaborate and improve communities around the world. The students use their skills to help the artisans improve the marketability of their products.

Dean of the School of Human Ecology Soyeon Shim emphasized that 4W is not only about helping people around the world, but also about the students at UW-Madison. She said students working with 4W are able to graduate “with a purpose in their lives.”

Brown asked the council to partner with 4W in engaging the student body and promoting the organization’s message through social media.

“When you have an education, using it for justice is very important,” said Brown.

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