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The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) is an autonomous unit located in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor of the University and is not attached to any faculty. This underlines its relevance to all disciplines and facilitates collaboration with all faculties. The IGDS consists of a Regional Co-ordinating Office (RCO) located on The University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus, and three Campus Units — at Cave Hill, Barbados (Nita Barrow Unit); at Mona, Jamaica (Mona Campus Unit); and at St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago (St. Augustine Unit).
The Regional Co-ordinating Office of the IGDS has oversight responsibility for all three Campus Units. The University Director of the RCO is Professor Verene Shepherd who acts as a member ex officio of the three Boards of Studies, of the Academic Board at Mona and of the Faculty of Humanities and Education Board at Mona. The IGDS Regional Co-ordinating Office reports to the University Board for Graduate Studies and Research and to the Vice Chancellor. The Campus Units report to the RCO, University Boards for Undergraduate and for Graduate Studies and Research, to the Campus Academic Boards, and to the Campus Principals.
The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) has its origins in the work of the Women and Development Studies Groups (WDSG) at The University of the West Indies. The Women and Development Studies Groups were established on all three campuses of The University of the West Indies in 1982. This was a direct result of a regional meeting called by Peggy Antrobus of the Women and Development Unit (WAND), the UWI. WAND was formed in 1978. The 1982 meeting coordinated by Joycelin Massiah was itself prompted by the outcome of the “Women in the Caribbean Research Project” which was carried out by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (I.S.E.R.), (Cave Hill) between 1979 and 1982.
In 1986, the Institute for Social Studies (ISS) at The Hague, The Netherlands and The University of the West Indies initiated a Project of Co-operation in Teaching and Research in Women and Development Studies. In September 1993 the project realised its goal with the establishment of the Centre for Gender and Development Studies (original name) at The University of the West Indies with units on all three campuses. The Centre, now called the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, is regional in scope with a Regional Coordinating Unit located on the UWI Mona Campus, Jamaica initially headed by Professor the Hon. Barbara Bailey, O.J and now headed by Professor Verene Shepherd.
Each IGDS campus Board of Studies oversees the work of each IGDS unit. Members of the Board are drawn from all faculties, the Main Library, the Guild of Students, and the WDSG. The Board reports to the Campus Academic Board, the Campus Principal and the Regional Coordinator’s Office. Teaching programmes, courses, research and outreach programmes are carried out independently or in collaboration with associate staff from other faculties and departments.
In keeping with the Institute’s philosophical underpinnings, programmes may be disciplinary, multi-disciplinary or interdisciplinary and encourage the use of interactive, participatory methodologies and modes of delivery. The Institute’s work is very much grounded in the realities and challenges that face women and men. Our research reflects these foci as we continue to search for answers in the constant effort towards a more equitable and just society.
In addition to our academic offerings, the Institute, on the St. Augustine Campus, has a strong outreach programme and prides itself on its other achievements and activities. Major events include the Institute’s annual celebration of International Women’s Day, World Water Day and recognition of the UN Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The time period encompasses significant dates: 25 November, the International Day Against Violence Against Women; 1 December, World AIDS Day; and 10 December, Human Rights Day. Also significant is 20 November, Universal Children’s Day.