Mary Racelis

In my research on urban poor communities and families, I have highlighted the leadership roles of women in organizing and demanding services. I have written many academic and advocacy articles to show why passage of the Reproductive Health Bill in 2012 was essential especially for women’s wellbeing.

Mary Racelis joined the Ateneo de Manila faculty in June 1960, the first woman professor in the College. Fr. Frank Lynch, S.J., then starting both the Institute of Philippine Culture (IPC) and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (DSA), invited her to be among his first staff members.

Dr. Racelis was born in Manila in 1932 of a Filipino father and American mother. She received her elementary education in the Philippines, finished high school and college in New York (Cornell University, Sociology and Anthropology 1954), returned to the Philippines with her husband, Helmuth Hollnsteiner in 1955, and completed her M.A. Sociology at the University of the Philippines in 1960.

In 1975, De La Salle University awarded her a Doctorate in the Social Sciences, honoris causa. In 2003, the Ateneo de Manila University awarded her a Doctorate in Humanities, honoris causa. 

Areas of expertise: urban poor women,  informal settlements, reproductive health, grassroots human rights, gender-disaggregated data, community organizing, participatory research  

Selected media coverage:  

Introduction to the book: Women and the Duterte Anti-Drug Carnage; Grieving, Healing, Breaking Through. Eleanor R. Dionisio, ed. Quezon City: INCITEGov, 2020, pp 1-7 (read here).

Women in Church: ‘Sense of the faithful’, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 7, 2012

Poor women speak on RH, Is anyone listening?Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 1, 2011

[Opinion] A roof for baby: Panunuluyan hopes for, January 7, 2021.


Selected publications

2015 Eve, Mary Magdalene, Filipino Women and the Blame Game: Women and the
Church Fifty Years After Vatican 2. Institute of Formation and Religious Studies,
Quezon City, August 24, 2013 commemorating the 50th anniversary of Vatican II,

2012 Technology and Morality in Women’s Lives – and Deaths: The Reproductive
Health Debate. Philippine Sociological Review, 60 (Jan-Dec):257-259.

2001 Controversy and Continuity: Programming for Women in Jim Grant’s UNICEF. Jim Grant, UNICEF Visionary. Richard A. Jolly, editor. Florence, Italy, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center. Pp. 111-135.

Main institution
Dept of Sociology and Anthropology (Senior Professorial Lecturer), Institute of Philippine Culture (Research Scientist) School of Social Sciences;
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