News Releases

The UWI launches policy to promote Gender Justice in the Caribbean

For Release Upon Receipt - May 23, 2018


The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has developed a Gender Policy to formalise its commitment to gender justice and establish a framework for its implementation. The UWI Gender Policy will be launched on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at a formal ceremony at the University’s Regional Headquarters in Jamaica and followed by a public forum on Gender Justice. The launch ceremony will be streamed live on UWItv.

The launch of this policy—led by the University’s Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS)—is intended to act as the framework to inform changes necessary at the various levels of the regional University towards the promotion of gender justice and addresses issues of equity, sensitivity and resource allocation. It is also a blueprint to incorporate the issues of gender and development and to express the fundamental principles that are deemed vital to sustainable growth and development throughout the Caribbean.

The UWI has historically concerned itself with issues of gender justice. From inception, its founders were careful to recommend that in its establishment, the University College of the West Indies (the predecessor of The UWI) should be open to women on precisely the same terms and conditions as are applicable to men; similarly, no restriction should be imposed on grounds of race or creed.

More recently, The UWI’s commitment to gender mainstreaming in its operations is reiterated in the University’s Triple A Strategy (2017-2022 Strategic Plan), where it has pressed further to include gender justice among its core values—in tandem with Integrity, Excellence, Diversity and Student Centeredness. Launching an official policy further bolsters its commitment to enforcing the tenets of gender justice throughout the University. The launch coincides with activities carded for the 70th anniversary year, when The UWI has articulated a focus—as an activist university—on advancing the social justice conversation. It sets precedence in doing so, providing a model as a university of best practice.

The draft Gender Policy was completed by former Director of The UWI IGDS Regional Coordinating Office, Professor Verene A. Shepherd and a working group spearheaded by her. Current University Director at The UWI IGDS, Pofessor Opal Adisa will lead its implementation along with a Gender Mainstreaming Committee responsible for championing gender justice across The UWI, and leading the activities intended to positively shape attitudes towards gender justice.

Commenting on the launch of the Gender Policy Professor Adisa said, “Taking this bold stance to formally accept and implement the gender policy is tangible evidence of The UWI’s far-reaching commitment to social and gender justice as the fabric of its development.  By so doing, The UWI is demonstrating its abiding commitment to create a society that works for all by implementing a paradigm shift that is inclusive and places justice is its modus operandi.”

Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and Gender Champion within the University, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, expressed, “Fine universities are always keen to actively promote the best interest of all members. The UWI is a fine university. It provides leadership in the promotion of fairness for all. While much has been done to create a culture of gender justice much more can be done. I am very proud of the work done by former Director of the IGDS, Professor Verene Shepherd, and her Task Force in developing this policy for formal approval. Equally, I celebrate her successor Professor Opal Adisa, and her team, who have done the necessary to launch it as a seminal event in the 70th anniversary calendar of our University.”




About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)