With gender equality mainstreaming foremost in their agenda, the European Union in the Philippines (EU) is joining forces with member states and other stakeholders in launching a series of activities to celebrate Women’s Month that will kick off with a cycling tour from Intramuros, Manila to SM Mall of Asia.
Under the theme #ChoosetoChallenge, the EU and its partners will also present a series of film screenings, dialogues, and roundtable discussions to highlight the role of women in their advocacies on gender equity and equality.
“It is imperative to ensure the well-being of society and to foster economic growth, prosperity, good governance, peace, and security,” EU Ambassador Luc Véron said in a statement. Veron explained that the EU ensures that its programs in the Philippines are “screened through a gender lens” taking into consideration the needs of women and girls.
The EU nations, he added, work together to realize a world where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are free to pursue their chosen paths in life, have equal opportunities to thrive, and can equally participate in and lead the society.
Following the launch of the EU Gender Action Plan III towards the end of 2020, the EU envoy together with the ambassadors of other EU member states’ embassies have committed to be gender-responsive leaders and to advance the gender agenda in their work. The action plan provides the EU with a policy framework with five pillars of action for accelerating progress towards meeting international commitments and a world in which everyone has space to thrive.
It makes the promotion of gender equality a priority of all external policies and actions; offers a roadmap for working together with stakeholders at national, regional, and multilateral levels; steps up action in strategic thematic areas; calls for the institutions to lead by example; and ensures the transparency of the results.
Ambassador Saskia de Lang of the Embassy of the Netherlands has assumed the role of EU Gender Champion this year to represent the EU in its gender advocacy and give impetus to its progressive stance on gender equality and human rights.
The Women’s Month will start on March 21 with Véron and Member States’ Ambassadors Lang (Netherlands) Michel Goffin (Belgium), Grete Sillasen (Denmark), Michèle Boccoz (France), and other diplomats joining Filipino bikers for a solidarity ride entitled: Empowering Women thru Cycling. Along their route, the cycling group will stop briefly at the Binhi ng Kalayaan at the Rizal Park in Luneta to highlight the important role of women who also fought for the freedom of the country.
The activity is initiated by cycling advocates and women’s advocacy groups, namely the Bikers United Movement, Life Cycles Ph, Pinay Bike Commuters Community, and InThePink. The event is in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines and the EU Member States’ Embassies, the City Governments of Manila and Pasay, Intramuros Administration, and the National Parks and Development Committee, SM Cares, and SM Mall of Asia.
Highlighting the celebration will be the feature stories of seven women whose activities in their daily lives and pandemic have helped their communities. The EU, together with the Foreign Service Institute, will jointly conduct a “Women in Diplomacy” webinar on March 22, 2021 from 2 to 4 pm to discuss the state of play in gender equity and gender equality in diplomacy.
The EU Delegation and EU Member States will co-organize a session for journalists and editors called ‘NO JOKE! A Conversation on a Gender Fair, Inclusive, and Empowering Philippine Media’ on March 29 and April 5 and 12, respectively, together with Miriam College’s Women and Gender Institute.
A series of roundtable discussions is also in the offing under the theme SPARK! Philippines for #Women2021: Women in Action, that includes Looking Back and Moving Forward: Women and the Pandemic (8 March 2021); The Other Woman: Women and Diversity (15 March 2021); Political Participation: Women and Governance (22 March 2021) and SPARK Conversations: Women and Feminine Health (29 March 2021).
The roundtable talks will be spearheaded by SPARK! Philippines, in partnership with the embassies in the Philippines of the following countries: United States; the Netherlands, Austria; Great Britain; Sweden; the Czech Republic; Germany; France and Micronesia. Also participating are: the United Nations Fund for population Activities (UNFPA), Philippine Commission on Women, Women Inter-Industry Network, Philippine Financial & Inter-Industry Pride, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, Forward and other organizations.
The French Embassy and the Institut Français, meanwhile, will present the 2021 edition of “IFCinéma à la carte,” featuring four French language films directed by women filmmakers: Angèle et Tony (Angel and Tony) by Alix Delaporte; Le beau monde (High Society) by Julie Lopes Curval; La Cour de Babel (The School of Babel) by Julie Bertuccelli and Tout est pardonné by Mia Hansen-Løve. All films are subtitled in several languages, including English, and are available for streaming free of charge until March 10, 2021 on the IFCinéma à la carte website: https://ifcinema.institutfrancais.com/en/streaming/alacarte