An inclusive and gender-equitable education contributes significantly to sustainable development and academic institutions play a vital role in addressing gender disparity. In 2015, in the Philippines, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) mandated the establishment of policies and guidelines on Gender and Development (GAD), a development perspective that recognises the equal status and situation of women and men in society.
This paper aims to highlight the role of social workers in gender and human rights advocacy at the local and international level. Using the The Advocacy on Women’s Education and Empowerment (AWE) Project in the Philippines as its example, it details the experiences, lessons and challenges of running a project which builds the capacity of young women, and promotes the role of higher educational institutions in building the skills and competence of future leaders.
Despite several international and national policies adopted by the Philippine government to address gender and human rights, there are still continuous violations of human rights and abuses against women.
The AWE Project is a community action program based in the Philippines that was implemented after participation in the 2016 Community Solutions Fellowship for Global Leaders. It empowers young women through a series of capacity building exercises, beginning with personal self-awareness, leadership development, conflict management, peace circles and gender and human rights. This provides opportunities for female social work students and young social workers to reach their full potential as gender and human rights advocates and leaders in the Philippines.