Institute for Gender and Development Studies




1960's - 1970's

Women´s Movement creates global momentum for change.

1975 - 1985

United Nations Decade of Women – Activities are intensified to improve the status of women and transform gender relations.


Regional seminar on The Integration of Women in Caribbean Development, in Jamaica recommends establishment of a “Women and Development Unit” at the University of the West Indies.


Women and Development Unit (WAND) established in Barbados to build consciousness, capacity and cohesion and to link academics and activists on issues related to women in rural development, in low income households and in trade unions.

1979 - 1982

Women in the Caribbean Project (WICP) This regional project was developed and implemented. It generated valuable data on women in the Caribbean which was published. Meeting of regional educators was hosted by WAND and WICP in Barbados that recommended establishment of a multi-disciplinary teaching programme at the UWI within a five-year period. 

Women and Development Studies (WDSGroups formed on the three UWI campuses comprised of women and men at UWI. The aims were to: increase knowledge of gender issues in the Caribbean; prepare an integrated, interdisciplinary programme of Women/Gender and Development Studies and link teaching research and outreach.


Gender in Caribbean Development, Inaugural Seminar. This was organized by the WDS Group, St. Augustine in September 1986 and it informed the agenda for change.


WDS 10th The institutionalisation of Gender and Development Studies (G&DS) took place in September 1993 when the Centre (CGDS) was established. Prior to that, the initiative for the introduction of programmes in G&DS was led by the Women and Development Studies Groups (WDSGs). The project which provided the funding to these groups was from the Government of the Netherlands (GON) which supported collaboration between UWI WDSGs and the Institute for Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague The ISS provide technical assistance and support in a variety of ways. There were two (2 )phases to this project: the first from 1986 to 1990 and the second from 1990 to 1994. One of the objectives of the project was the institutionalisation of the programme in G&DS at the UWI.


CGDS was instituted at UWI (September 1, 1993).


The UWI Mona Academic Conference entitled: Gender in the 21st Century was held to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Gender and Development Studies at the UWI.


In October 2008, The UWI Council gave approved to upgrade the status of the CGDS from Centre to Institute able to grant its own undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

In November, the 15th Anniversary of the establishment of the Gender and Development Studies as a teaching and research Centre at the UWI was observed with a two-day regional symposium from November 10-11, 2008 in honour of Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie entitled Gender Perspectives in Education: Caribbean Impact, Global Reach, for her contribution to scholarship and administration at the institution. It also commemorated and reflected on the genesis, development and future direction of Gender and Development Studies at UWI. The event was incorporated into the UWI's 60th anniversary celebrations.

2009 - 2010

Full implementation of the Major - Bachelors of Science in Gender and Development - following approval in 2008/2009.


The IGDS celebrates two decades of institutionalization within The University of the West Indies.
The 20th Anniversary Conference on Gender Transformations in the Caribbean in recognition of Professor Barbara Bailey is convened from November 6-8, 2013 on St. Augustine Campus. Website 
Symposium titled - Continuities, Challenges and Transformations in Caribbean Gender Relations. Conference Website


IGDS 25th Anniversary Conference was hosted by the IGDS Nita Barrow Unit, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. It was held in honour of the founding Heads of the IGDS Professor Eudine Barriteau, Professor Patricia Mohammed and Professor Rhoda Reddock and in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of The University of the West Indies and the 25th Anniversary of the IGDS. Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, The University of The West Indies, November 21 - 23, 2018. 



The UWI Gender Journey

Published July 2016
The University of the West Indies Press
The UWI Press  |   Amazon


The UWI Gender Journey: Recollections and Reflections

“The UWI Gender Journey is a bold volume that carefully documents the visionary commitment and struggles for recognition and respect of a relatively small cohort of dedicated feminist scholars, each of them powerful academics and leaders, as they collaborated to institutionalize gender and development studies at the University of West Indies. We learn about the origins of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies and how it came to provide global academic leadership in the field of gender and development studies.

“The story of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies and all its preceding phases deserves to be told both because of its significant impact on regional scholarship and also because it exemplifies commitment to the legitimation of a fundamentally interdisciplinary academic undertaking with great importance for Caribbean social well-being. The UWI Gender Journey records a uniquely regional project and its broader momentum, offering powerful lessons for advocates for gender studies internationally. The authors also make clear that gender and development studies is an essential component of the global struggle against gender inequalities.

“The audience for this work is both regional and global. The detailed descriptive account of how women and gender studies came to be in the University of the West Indies provides much of scholarly interest for academics elsewhere. Historians will find the volume invaluable for its wealth of details about how various Caribbean feminist scholars and their supporters responded to global development initiatives.”

―Pauline Barber, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University

About the Authors

Joycelin Massiah is Professor and former Director, Institute of Social and Economic Research (Eastern Caribbean), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados, and former Regional Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women, Caribbean Office (now UNWomen).

Elsa Leo-Rhynie is Professor Emerita of Gender and Development Studies and former Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

Barbara Bailey is Professor Emerita of Gender and Education and former University Director, Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

Published July 2016
The University of the West Indies Press

The UWI Press  |   Amazon


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