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Institute of Women's Studies (IWS) Philippines

The St. Scholastica's College adopted a social orientation for the education mission in the seventies, a period that saw the birth of the women's movement in the Philippines. In 1985, celebrating its 10th year of promoting education for social transformation, the school initiated a Women's Studies program. Women active in the women's movement came together to work out the objectives and syllabus of an Introductory Course on Women's Studies. The enthusiastic response to the course generated to its incorporation in the College's General Education program for the tertiary level-the course was made a requirement for graduation.

The following year, the College obtained a permit to offer a Cognate Course on Women's Studies. It established the Institute of Women's Studies as an affiliate unit of the college in 1988. The Institute goals are: 1) awaken a consciousness to and provide an understanding of the woman question through a strategy of formal (institutional) and non-formal alternative education; and 2) engage in research and study on gender issues, and projects that uphold the cause of women; and 3) conduct outreach programs that serve women outside the formal educational institution.

The different programs of the Institute of Women's Studies are: (1)Seminar and Training Program; (2) Research and Publication Program; (3)Resource & Development Program; (4)Radio Program; and (5) Center for Women's Wholeness.

The Institute of Women's Studies Resource and Development Program or library was initially created to provide support to the different programs of the Institute as well as women's studies courses of St. Scholastica's College. The library aims to: 1) provide access to books, documents and audio-visual materials on women; 2) develop a documentation center on women in Philippine History; 3) collect information and materials relevant to training, advocacy and campaigns on women's issues.

In 1993, as the Institute evolved, its services were increasingly availed of by students, professors from other major schools in Metro Manila. In the course of time the library serves and provides information to Non-governmental and Governmental Organizations that need gender oriented information, mass media, political parties, foreign organizations and universities, religious organizations and individuals.

Over the past decade, national and international groups have turned a spotlight on the hidden brutality of violence against women. They have called on the international community to value a woman's right to be free from violence as a human right. This focus on violence against women has spurred the development of strategies and programs to address the problem. The Institute started giving emphasis on this issue and collected materials on violence against women. Its collection will complement the praxis in the Women's Crisis Center (center for battered and rape victims), an organization closely associated with the Institute. It has been also noted that the common topic of research for library users has been violence against women.

The Institute considers the need to explore alternative and non-traditional sources of information both artifactual and archival. The archival materials are significant both in interrogating existing formulations and substantiating the strategic role of women in Philippine society. Traditional historiography, like institutionalized religion established during the era of colonization, marginalizes women. Emphasis and visibility in history are male prerogatives: masculine heroism, courage and nobility and alongside the primacy of war, violence, pillage, and destruction as conventional contexts for historical narratives. In fact, history records, both in wartime and peacetime, too many glaring examples of countless modes of gender-based exploitation, oppression, and discrimination against women which dramatizes male dominance and female inferiority.

The collection of IWS contributes toward the Filipina women's understanding of the role of religion, which has the strongest influence in our culture and thinking, in shaping our views and attitudes towards women; and in our reeducation of our understanding of history to be able to discern on the historical roots of women repression in the country, see the role of women in shaping our history, and develop a higher resolve in working for women's liberation.

Out of necessity the library expanded from print to non-print materials. In the bid to strengthen its niche within the network of women's resource centers, the Institute chose to build its collection of materials on specialized but closely related areas-women in religion, women in history and special section on violence against women.

The library continues to acquire interesting materials concerning religion and spirituality, violence and history. A total collection of 2,500 book titles, 80 feature and documentaries films and 50 photos of women.

Contact details

Street Address:
931 Estrada Street, Malate, Manila, Philippines

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 3125, Manila, Philippines

Telephone: 632-2-522-3551
Fax: 632-2-591-1058


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