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The women in national liberation movements in countries such as the Philippines were dissatisfied with the lack of attention gender issues received relative to the concern for class and nationalist questions leveled at the dictatorial regime in the politically volatile period from 1972 to 1986. Many young women scholars and researchers, who were then part of the anti-dictatorship movement during this period of ferment, began to discuss ‘women's issues' in classrooms, as well as in the so-called ‘parliament of the streets' in the absence of democratic institutions under martial rule. They were later to be the precursors and founding generation of WS/GS scholars in their academic institutions. Largely due to this wellspring of feminist activism during that restive era, today there are 64 colleges and universities that are institutionalizing WS/GS in varying degrees in tertiary and higher education nationwide, whose teachers are members of the 16-year-old Women's Studies Association of the Philippines (WSAP) now numbering 335 members. The Association has been working towards building the capacity of faculty members to teach WS/GS courses. Additionally, WS/GS practitioners have also tried to develop service and policy review programmes to address gender issues in campuses, such as setting up crisis counseling centres and anti-sexual harassment coordinating offices. A presidential national directive mandating all state-run tertiary colleges and universities to allocate at least 5 percent of central administration funds to Gender and Development now enables some schools to run WS/GS courses or to establish WS/GS units. Alternatively, faculty members may also use these funds in order to attend WS/GS conferences and training.

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