Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan is a renowned social psychologist and educator who champions women’s rights and empowerment in her work. She has served as the Chair of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), through which she pioneered and launched the landmark Philippine Development Plan for Women. She also chaired the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and led negotiations during the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a groundbreaking global policy document on gender equality. Various regional NGO networks for women have been under her leadership, such as the Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW) and the South East Asia Women’s Watch (SEAWWatch).
She is the former academic Vice President of Ateneo De Manila University and the Chair of its Department of Psychology, as well as the past President of Miriam College. She was also the Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) from 2010 to 2018, during which she was in charge of administering increased access to and quality of tertiary education for all.
In terms of her work as an educator and a psychologist, she has served as the President of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), the Chair of the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC) in 1987, and worked in the Executive Council of the Consortium of Women’s Colleges (CWC). Dr. Licuanan was also the Vice President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and a board member of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU). In the past, she has been the President of the Association of Women Presidents and Chancellors of Private Colleges and Universities (SOPHIA) and has worked as a member of the board of advisers of the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd). She was also appointed Commissioner and Chairperson of the Education Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines.
One of her most notable roles as a women’s rights and empowerment advocate was at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 where she led the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPA) as the Chair of its Main Committee. This conference became the critical point for the global policy document on gender equality that outlined twelve (12) critical areas of concern towards advancing women’s rights. More than 20 years after this significant role, she shared her insights she gained from it at the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Dr. Licuanan received her M.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and acquired her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Pennsylvania State University.