Urduja And Migrant Workders Desk
Urduja is the Women’s Desk of AHRC. Although AHRC had been involved in women’s issues through research, specifically on trafficking in women and overseas domestic workers years before, it was only in 2000 that the Urduja Women’s Desk was formally established. Named after the legendary warrior princess from the north who led women warriors in defense of their territory, the desk was established in the same year that it finished developing a curriculum on Gender and the Law which was introduced as an elective course in the Ateneo School of Law.
At present, the Urduja Desk continues to engage in curriculum/module development and has produced, with support from the Philippine Supreme Court’s Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary and its academic institution, the Philippine Judicial Academy, a training module on “Gender Sensitivity, CEDAW and the Courts.” This module is currently utilized in seminar-workshops for judges and other court personnel. To supplement the module, the Urduja Desk-AHRC also produced and published with support from UNIFEM a “CEDAW Bench Book” which is distributed to judges-participants in the seminar-workshop. The trainings are conducted having the lawyers from the desk as primary resource persons.
Since the main thrust of the Urduja desk is research and education, it has also embarked on developing modules for its trainings on specific issues such as gender sensitivity, violence against women, violence in dating, sexual harassment and trafficking in women and children especially in the context of migration for work. The modules are produced both for public servants, particularly the courts, and the grassroots level, to both urban and rural women. In addition, it has developed modules where linkages with other human rights issues are articulated, such as gender and corruption and gender and environment.
- Curriculum and module development on women’s issues for government, institutions and grass roots beneficiaries.
- Research and publication. Most are published as part of IEC materials for trainings and some are published in AHRC’s Human Rights Treatise, the Ateneo Law Journal and other respected journals. Research is also conducted in furtherance of policy and law reform.
- Training and capacity building.
Areas For Expansion
In furtherance of the Urduja Desk objective to provide continuous education and empowerment to women, the desk is planning on broadening its mandate to cover other issues where women are primarily or adversely affected such as climate change, natural disasters, and internal displacement. It also acknowledges the need to prioritize the update on its research on trafficking, women migrant workers and its publications on the CEDAW Benchbook and Gender Sensitivity, CEDAW and the Courts.