Established in 1988, the University Center for Women’s Studies evolved from the ideas and commitment to social justice, national development, and women’s empowerment of a group of women faculty from the UP. Moved by their determined lobbying, Dr. Jose V. Abueva, then UP President, issued Administrative Order No. 83 in July 1988, creating a committee to study the establishment of a system-wide center for women’s studies to address the concerns and issues involving women in our university and society.
On 08 December 1988, the University Center for Women’s Studies (UCWS) was officially recognized by the Board of Regents at its 1017th meeting paving the way for its operation in October 1989.
The rationale for the creation of the UCWS was conceptualized in relation to:
- the 1987 Constitution which ensures the equality of men and women before the law and recognizes the role of women in nation-building (Art. 11, Sec. 14);
- the Philippine commitment to the 1985 Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies, and;
- the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, to which the country is a signatory.
In 2015, the BOR at its 1309th meeting approved the “Guidelines on Promoting Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality in the University of the Philippines” and the re-naming of the UCWS as the “University of the Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies” to reflect the complexity and intersectionality of women’s issues, gender, sexuality, and the different systems of society. This reflects as well, the University’s commitment to creating enabling mechanisms for enriching knowledge in these fields and advocating for and protecting the rights of all UP members regardless of sex, gender, sexual/gender orientation and identity. Under this new mandate, the UPCWGS shall address concerns and issues on women, gender, and sexuality in the University and in society, in consonance with the University’s main tasks of teaching, research and extension and in support of the Magna Carta of Women.
It serves as the oversight body on women’s/gender concerns; acts as catalyst for gender mainstreaming, authority on women’s concerns and lead advocate of women’s empowerment, gender equity and gender equality.
The objectives of the Center are:
- To create and sharpen awareness of women’s and gender issues in the University as well as in the larger society;
- To encourage and strengthen teaching, research, extension and advocacy programs on and for women and gender mainstreaming;
- To strengthen and vitalize multi- and interdisciplinary programs in women’s and gender studies;
- To initiate the integration of gender concepts in the academic curricula;
- To promote incentives for, and the recognition of, women’s achievements and contribution to national development and gender consciousness;
- To provide an organizational umbrella for System-wide activities in women’s and gender studies.
Organizational Structure and Functions
Under the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, a director and two deputy directors administer the day-to-day operations of the Center.
As a system office, its tasks are the coordination of efforts of the UP constituent universities to mainstream gender in the University as a strategy for implementing the Magna Carta of Women; the implementation of the UP Gender Guidelines and the anti-sexual harassment policy, and; the development of the University’s GAD plans and programs, especially as these relate to the utilization of the GAD budget.
As a university research center, the UPCWGS leads in the conduct and promotion of cutting-edge research on gender and women’s studies in the Philippines. It supports the University’s teaching and non-teaching personnel in training programs and activities that enhance skills and consciousness-raising toward a more humane, just and gender-fair Filipino community.
Programs and Projects
The Center has four major programs: research; publication and resource collection; curriculum development; training, extension and outreach.
Among its projects are the service facilities: gender-sensitive day-care center and feminist/gender-sensitive peer counseling and psycho-social assistance.
The research program focuses on the generation of empirical, theoretical and policy-action studies to support the teaching, publication and outreach programs of the UP. Its projects are interdisciplinary and collaborative, as they draw on the expertise of scholars from the various academic disciplines across campuses.
The Center has pioneered in feminist participatory, policy and action research in the country.
Through the years, it has vigorously supported the efforts of the faculty to undertake feminist theoretical and methodological studies and issue-oriented research in the areas of gender violence, governance, globalization, law, reproductive health, and gender and sexuality studies.
In collaboration with the UPCWS Foundation Inc., the Center has undertaken research projects in partnership with the National Commission on the Role of the Filipino Woman (now, Philippine Commission on Women), the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ford Foundation, Asia Foundation and the United Nations Programs: UNFPA, UNDP, UNIFEM.
Publication and Resource Collection
The UPCWGS has two regular publications: the Pananaw and the Review of Women’s Studies (RWS). The Pananaw is a newsletter on gender-related activities within and outside the University System, while the RWS is a peer-reviewed journal with international readership. It features empirical studies, research reports, essays, interviews, fiction, poetry and visual art.
The Center also publishes two occasional publications, launched in 2011 and 2016, respectively: the UPCWS Occasional Papers and Monographs Series and the Kasarian: Occasional Papers on Sex and Gender.
In the last 28 years, the Center has produced over a hundred books, journal issues, primers and advocacy materials now widely used in the University and in other schools here and abroad as well as in policy and program development of government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
The Center has a collection of research papers–published and unpublished–video materials and documentary films on women’s studies for classroom teaching and gender sensitivity seminars and workshops.
In the mid-2000s, the UCWS spearheaded the creation of a regional information resource e-facility for women in local government with the support of UNESCAP.
Raising the gender awareness of the different campuses of the UP System toward a more humane University is the basic mandate of the UPCWGS. Among its many strategies to achieve this end is the mainstreaming of gender in the various curricula of the University, including the General Education (GE) Curriculum.
Since the year 2000, the Center has conducted seminar-workshops to strengthen the gender component of the UP curricula as well as mainstream gender in the GE programs of the various academic units. Seminars on gender issues, feminist theories and gender-sensitive pedagogy have also been carried out toward faculty development.
This program is carried out through the research, publication, and training programs.
Training, Extension and Outreach
The training, extension and outreach program focuses on building the capacity of the faculty to integrate women’s/gender theories and topics into their regular courses, aside from providing technical expertise on gender mainstreaming and gender sensitivity projects.
This program includes the design, content, and evaluation of training seminars geared towards addressing women and gender issues and concerns, which take into account innovations and advances in the area. The target recipients of the program are the UP constituent units as well as other state universities and colleges, government, non-government, and civil society groups. Among the training programs the Center has conducted are the following:
- seminars on gender sensitization and skills enhancement training for curriculum development;
- establishment of women-friendly and gender-responsive school services and facilities;
- GAD mainstreaming;
- gender planning and budgeting;
- and the intersections of gender and women’s issues with governance, labor, migration, the environment, etc.
Part of the commitment of the Center is to conduct outreach activities that include the provision of training and technical assistance to groups outside the University.
Projects: Service Facility
Kalinga Day Care Center
The Kalinga Day Care Center (KDCC) is a non-formal, non-structured alternative learning environment. Our goals are to provide a comfortable and safe environment for children ages 1.6 to 5.5 years; to meet the developmental needs of children in a gender-fair and peaceful environment, and; to promote positive self-concept in children.
The philosophy in child-care we follow sees the child as an actively developing person with a body, mind, feelings and abilities that are unique to him/her. As teacher-facilitators, we prepare the environment for and facilitate learning, and provide activities and materials that promote a child’s total development. We believe that learning occurs when children actively practice and refine their abilities, use their senses, and solve problems and interact in a stimulating environment. Parents and guardians are the primary and most important providers of care and nurture; they are the teachers’ partners in the children’s care and education.
Feminist/Gender-Sensitive Peer Counseling and Psycho-Social Assistance
The UPCWGS offers feminist and gender-sensitive peer counseling/psycho-social assistance for women and LGBT persons. In our view, gender and other forms of social inequality lead to beliefs and behavior that can harm women and other marginalized persons. We seek to provide a psychological safe space that fully recognizes the harm done to those who have experienced sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. Please contact [email protected] or send us an SMS-text for an appointment.