Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

Published March 8, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Today is International Women’s Day.  Many countries around the world will celebrate the contributions of women in many fields of endeavor and the strides in breaking gender bias.

The global celebration will focus on the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” as declared by the United Nations, to call for climate action for women, by women.

Many countries will hold events that will recognize the achievements of women in culture, economy, politics, and especially in helping break the gender bias.

At home, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) will “highlight the gains achieved for women and girls, assess actions towards gender equality and look forward to steps that must be taken to ensure progress in empowering women.”
The organization will launch the “Pulso para sa Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran” online poll today to gather data on gender issues in various fields. The results, which will be released on March 31, will present a roadmap for future elected officials, leaders in government agencies and private organizations to base programs that will help women. The PCW online poll will be up until March 25.

In the Philippines, many signs show that women are breaking the gender bias.  First, we had two women presidents – Corazon A. Aquino and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

There are many women leading government agencies today.  In the national government, we have a woman as vice president – Leni Robredo, who is now running for the presidency.  In the 24-member Senate, there are seven women senators. Among the 308 members of the House of Representatives, 86 are women.

In the business sector, the Philippines has retained its ranking as third in the list of countries which recorded the highest number of woman leaders in mid-size firms. The research, conducted by Grant Thornton International Ltd., surveyed senior leaders from 5,000 businesses across 29 economies.  The number of female leaders in senior management roles in the Philippines was 48 percent in 2021 and 39 percent in 2022.

The strides in breaking gender bias has encouraged the PCW to continue its work on the protection of equal opportunities for women. In a statement issued for Women’s Month, the PCW called on “government agencies and stakeholders to celebrate the gains and be proactive in preventing backsliding from what we have achieved in gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).”

Many laws protect women in the Philippines starting with RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women that is a “comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination through the recognition, protection, fulfillment, and promotion of the rights of Filipino women, especially those belonging in the marginalized sectors of the society.”

Former President Corazon A. Aquino signed three laws that serve as the legal bases for the celebration of March as National Women’s Month. Two of them are:

Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 which declared the first week of March of every year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day.”

Proclamation No, 227 s. 1988 which provided for the observance of the month of March as “Women’s Role in History Month.”

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911, after Clara Zetkin moved for recognition of a special international day for women at the National Conference for Working Women in Denmark in 1910. The next year, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.