The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is the primary policy-making and coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns. As the oversight body on women’s concerns, the PCW acts as a catalyst for gender mainstreaming, authority on women’s concerns, and lead advocate of women’s empowerment, gender equity, and gender equality in the country.
The PCW was formerly known as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) until August 14, 2009. This was the date that NCRFW was renamed as PCW and its mandate was expanded by the enactment of Republic Act 9710, otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women (MCW).
The NCRFW was established on January 7, 1975 through Presidential Decree, as an advisory body to the President and the Cabinet on policies and programs for the advancement of women. It was mandated “to review, evaluate, and recommend measures, including priorities to ensure the full integration of women for economic, social and cultural development at national, regional and international levels, and to ensure further equality between women and men.”
During the first decade of its operations, the NCRFW thrust were on the following major programs:
- Organizing women into a nationwide movement called “Balikatan sa Kaunlaran” (shoulder-to-shoulder in development). This organization is now registered as an independent women’s organization;
- Conducting policy studies and lobbying for the issuance of executive and legislative measures concerning women;
- Establishing a clearinghouse and information center on women; and
- Monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
From 2001, the NCRFW that became PCW in 2009 supported the administration’s poverty alleviation agenda by sustaining the gains of the past in making the bureaucracy work for women under the thrust of advancing and protecting human rights, promoting women’s economic empowerment and promoting gender-responsive governance.
On July 8, 2010, the PCW launched the MCW Implementing Rules and Regulations to its partners and stakeholders. It is currently revising its structure and staffing pattern to effectively and efficiently undertake and accomplish its mandate.