Duterte asks Filipinos: Help free women from ‘bondage of inequality’

Published March 8, 2021, 11:22 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has called on the nation to help free women from the “bondage of inequality,” citing their indispensable role in the country’s progress.

(Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

In observance of Women’s Month, the President said Filipinos should help empower women to break down the barriers that hold them back as well as the “backward mindset” that promotes gender oppression and inequality.

“I therefore encourage every Filipino to join us in celebrating the indispensable role of women in our nation’s progress by participating in this month-long celebration and supporting advocacies that seek to fight for and acknowledge the inalienable rights of women as equal partners of men,” he said in a message.

“Let us elevate women to their rightful place in society by empowering every Filipina to break not only the barriers that have long hindered them from reaching their full potential, but also the backward mindset that fueled a culture of gender oppression and inequality,” he said.

The President said his government has taken steps to promote women empowerment but recognized that more work needed to be done to advance their welfare.

In the past several decades, he cited that international organizations, women’s rights movements, and various governments have made “significant strides in addressing gender inequality by dealing with its cultural, institutional and historical roots.”

“While there is still much to be done to completely free women from this bondage of inequality, we can nonetheless proudly claim that concrete, sustainable, and inclusive actions have been taken by our government to create an environment where women’s rights are respected and their contributions to society are recognized,” he said.

The President recently said his government has been working relentless to ensure women would have equal access to education, economic opportunities, health care and social services, and growth opportunities. He acknowledged the role of women in nation-building and affirmed his resolve to uphold the fundamental equality before the law of both genders.

The President’s latest message on women empowerment comes after drawing past criticisms over his controversial misogynistic jokes and comments. Duterte said previously that even if he could be criticized as President, no one can take away his right to exercise his freedom of expression.

 
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