After RAP, the longest-running EDC project comprises our largest body of equity work: the Women’s Educational Equity Act Resource Center (WEEA). For more than two decades, the WEEA Resource Center has developed, published, and distributed innovative, gender-fair materials to teachers and education leaders around the country. WEEA publications range from classroom materials, program guides, and research reports to anthologies of women’s writing. These materials form the core of what is now a national knowledge base for gender equity.
In its early years, the WEEA Resource Center focused on building awareness of gender equity issues, career counseling for displaced homemakers and other women reentering school and the work force, recruitment of women and girls into nontraditional fields, and math and science education for girls. During the 1980s, the center’s focus shifted to providing educational and vocational materials to urban and rural women living in poverty, while it continued to work on math and science education and nontraditional careers.
Today WEEA has targeted new challenges, including gender-based violence and school-to-work issues, and it has reached out to new audiences by increasing the number of titles available in Spanish, as well as the number of works by and about Native American women. “Into the next century, we hope to provide leadership on gender equity as an inclusive model,” explains Katherine Hanson, WEEA’s director. “In other words, we plan to investigate how equity for girls and women supports equity for racial and ethnic groups, as well as for the disabled and others.”
WEEA is also employing new tools to reach its diverse audiences, beginning with a website featuring a range of equity resources, contacts, moderated discussions, and online courses. Recent discussions on single-sex classrooms and sexual harassment have generated active and lively debate, and the center is in the process of conducting an online course called “Engaging Middle School Girls in Math and Science.” Recent online discussions have focused on single-sex classrooms and sexual harassment.
“We see the website as a good vehicle for expanding the discussion of issues related to equity in education,” comments Susan Smith, who moderates the online discussions. “We had 80-100 people join our mailing list during the discussion of single-sex classrooms. Through the discussions, we gather a great deal of information to use in our digests and to enter into our database of equity resources and services available around the country.”
Originally published on May 1, 1999