Established in 1988, the University Center for Women’s Studies (UCWS) evolved from the ideas and commitment to social justice, national development, and women’s empowerment of a group of women faculty from the University of the Philippines (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 8 December 1988, the UCWS was officially recognized by the Board of Regents (BOR) 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:

  1. the 1987 Constitution which ensures the equality of men and women before the law and recognizes the role of women in nation-building (Article II, Section 14);
  2. the Philippine commitment to the 1985 Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies, and;
  3. the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 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 (UPCWGS) 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 (MCW).

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.

[Updated: 4 October 2023]