Deputy Executive Director, Philippine Commission on Women
A milestone has been achieved — proud to finish my MAWD in 2000
A path has begun – now a member of the management committee of the Philippine Commission on Women Dreams are shining as the sun — have expanded my local and international network and guided a lot of local government units, agencies and countries in Gender Advocacy A Victory is won — have helped save women’s lives with sharpness in arguing I gained from the CSWCD. Imagine it, you win it — enroll in MAWD, my best investment!
HEATHER HURWITZ, USA
I came to the MAWD program because it is the only women and development program of its kind in Asia at the top University in the Philippines. I continue to praise the program because it is unique around the world, as the most genuine and rigorous fieldwork-based-approach to professional development work training, particularly on women/gender/feminist issues. I will always be inspired by the incredible friends and mentors, and the creative resistances of women throughout the Philippines that I experienced through the MAWD program. The program helped to prepare me to continue to study women and globalization issues as I work toward my PhD in Sociology.
The days in women and development (WD) are definitely indispensable for who I am now. WD made me continue to always keep asking myself “what is happening now”, “who are involved and how involved” and “how to solve/ improve”, by which I believe my analytical and conceptualizing skills are greatly improved. With the skills and passion that I developed in WD, I am now engaged in various Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) endeavors.
I was 24 years old when i enrolled in the program (MAWD) and I badly wanted to undergo a substantial life change… maybe from being “just” a human rights activist to a human rights-feminist-activist. Call that one word a substantial makeover with my entry to MAWD. Years later I finished the degree, but I haven’t finished the business of that F word. Society is now harsher to women, oppressive elements have mutated into new forms, and patriarchy still has many faces. My degree trained me well to see in the darkness and fight back. I wanted a life change; I want society to change.
A course in Sociology triggered my interest to pursue a Master’s degree in Women and Development Studies. I needed an intervention. I needed a fresh perspective. I wanted to empower myself as a woman. I wanted to transform this society. I wanted to become an effective development worker. I started spreading my “gender virus” in all my career engagements – in research, in policy/legislation, in development programming and in fieldwork. I am one of the privileged products of the DWDS.
I love the education I pursued at the DWDS. Before I enrolled, I had only limited exposure to feminist and development theory; throughout the program, my theories and ideas expanded. I was able to interact with women, communities, classmates and professors in ways I would never have imagined. Many of the frameworks I learned in the program strongly influence my work. Currently, I work with a small, international foundation. We are in the process of new project development, and I am able to bring the concern of women to the center of these projects. As I express these concerns, I am able to propose pathways towards empowerment with an expansive understanding of issues women face in communities. I attribute much of this understanding to what I learned at the DWDS.
My degree in WD Studies helps me immensely in my work as a practicing lawyer. The feminist and development perspectives inform my practice especially in handling cases involving gender and women’s issues. Further, the networks and linkages that I have developed in and out of the Department have significantly broadened my horizons for my professional work, as well as my advocacies. Most importantly though, the friendships, sisterhood and supportive and nurturing environment in the Department proved to be life-transforming.