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Situating Gender in Social Change: A Review of Gender Integration among ALGs

Written for Womenlead Foundation, Inc. by Carolina S. Ruiz-Austria*

Introduction

Social change is the ALG's main milieu. Even as its members primarily engage legal institutions and pursue policy change, its theoretical and philosophical framework has never been confined to a blind acceptance of the legal system as the end-all or be-all of bringing about social change:

"The core of ALG's framework on DLA lies in its basic challenge of the power of law, the legal system and traditional legal practice to reinforce historical gender, class and racial/ethnicity based oppressions in Philippine Society." (ALG Framework on Judicial Reform, Ruiz-Austria & Mendoza: 2003)

This study is the second project by Womenlead ,which aims to contribute to ALG's   ongoing initiative to confront the basic question of gender within its legal and philosophical theorizing, its socio-economic and political analyses, and not the least, within its praxis, both in the organizational (internal) setting as well as in its broader participation across social movements (external).

As an initial foray into its basic understanding of gender, gender agendas, gender integration and mainstreaming strategies or programs, this review serves to provide a basic survey of ALG's practices and experiences vis a vis gender integration, as well as surface what ALGs hold in common in terms of core principles, the understanding of gender, as well as make key recommendations on how ALG can further engage in developing its gender perspective and gender agenda.

By no means an easy process, this study literally entailed ALG members' willingness to put themselves, under a microscope with the hope of learning from the experience and moving forward in self-criticism. In the context of a myriad of social movements (both local and trans-national) which have themselves faced untold schisms over political and ideological differences which has often included disagreement over the engagement of gender, the ALG's initiative proves to be a bold step, hopefully the first in many others to seriously consider gender within ALG's developing perspectives on social change.

Copyright Womenlead Foundation, Inc. 2006

* Senior Lecturer, University of the Philippines, College of Law; Founding Executive Director, Women's Legal Education, Advocacy & Defense Foundation, Inc. (Womenlead, Inc.) and Packard-Gates Fellow at the University of California, International Health Program, 2001.

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