Women power alive in Congress
Cherry Salazar (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Female lawmakers attended yesterday an all-women session at the House of Representatives in celebration of National Women’s Day.

“Women power is well and alive in Congress,” said Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, who served as the House Speaker that day.

While only a third of the House membership are women, De Venecia noted that female legislators are still at par with their male counterparts “in terms of lawmaking competence.”

“Ours is a matriarchal nation. That’s why gender gap here is slim, as evidenced by the number of female leaders who hold positions of power in practically all spheres of society – from the judiciary, the Cabinet, the business sector and even the military,” said De Venecia, also the president of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI).

The AWLFI is composed of all 79 female lawmakers at the House.

Privilege speeches during the all-women session yesterday revolved around what Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Ann Hofer said was the “power of the feminine,” particularly as regards the issues of armed conflict, entrepreneurship, labor, medical practice and peace-building, among others.

A House commendation was also presented to Dr. Helena Benitez, whom De Venecia described as “a woman of many firsts.”

Benitez was the first Filipina elected to chair the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She was also elected as a senator, during which the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was introduced.

She was also the first Filipina and the first woman president of the UN Environment Program. Likewise, she was the first Filipina to receive the Order of Sikatuna, the Philippines’ order of diplomatic merit, with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross).

The House’s women’s day celebration was sponsored by the AWLFI and the committee on women and gender equality.

A HOUSE ANN HOFER ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN LEGISLATORS FOUNDATION DE VENECIA DR. HELENA BENITEZ ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM FILIPINA GRAND CROSS WOMEN
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