Gender equality, inclusive society pushed for Women’s Day

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Gender equality, inclusive society pushed for Women�s Day
International Women’s Day with the theme, “We for Gender Equality and Inclusive Society”.
philstar.com / Irish Lising

MANILA, Philippines — The world yesterday marked International Women’s Day with the theme, “We for Gender Equality and Inclusive Society,” for this year until 2028.

Among those who celebrated the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women were Vice President Sara Duterte and Carmelita Talusan of the Bureau of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

President Marcos honored Filipinol, women including First Lady Liza Marcos and Duterte, in observance of International Women’s Day. ?“We salute Filipino women who continue to demonstrate strength and determination in their homes, work and community,” Marcos said in Filipino in a post on Twitter.?Marcos’ post was accompanied by photos of the First Lady, Duterte, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil, Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople and Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

In a speech delivered during the celebration in Taguig, Duterte said the pursuit of gender equality should not be seen solely as a women’s issue.

She said Filipino men are encouraged and have been advocating for gender equality too.

“By helping women access economic opportunities, for example, we empower them to be financially independent, improve the standard of living of their families and are better able to ensure the good health and education of their children,” Duterte said.

“It is my hope that by working hand in hand in this pursuit, we can provide more digital opportunities for socio-economic growth and gender empowerment, and enable women to rise above any form of online violence affecting their mental and physical well-being,” she added.

Meanwhile, Talusan said the observance of International Women’s Day does not only address the challenges in achieving gender equality, but also recognizes and celebrates the contributions and achievements of all women.

“On this day, I would like to honor all women at the port of NAIA for their dedication and commitment in serving the country as well as for upholding the bureau’s core mandates of revenue collection, trade facilitation and border protection,” Talusan said during a speech delivered at the Customs house. “Together, let us remain stronger, united and committed towards achieving our goals.”

Duterte underscored the need to stand together for inclusive development and remain at the forefront of social transformation for the benefit of women, children, youth and other vulnerable groups.

As education secretary, she highlighted the importance of advocating an inclusive digital education that would provide opportunities for women to overcome inequality.

As this developed, women’s group Women Workers United reported a dramatic increase in the cases of violence against women in the country, saying the situation is expected to further worsen amid rising inflation.

The group said that every 20 minutes, a woman becomes a victim of rape or other forms of violence.

It said women comprised the most number of unemployed people in the country and are forced to take informal and precarious work.

Meanwhile, the Nagkaisa Women’s Committee said that inflation affects women more than men as well as widens the gender gap and inequality.

“Women workers who are concentrated in informal, precarious and underpaid jobs without security and social protection have to grapple with the impacts of inflation and the pandemic,” Jillian Roque, chief of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, said.

“As inflation continues to erode purchasing power, women are forced to make sacrifices for their families by starving themselves and skipping meals, or cutting back essential items and services, including health care,” Roque said.

To mark International Women’s Day, labor groups yesterday took to the streets and dialogued with the Department of Labor and Employment.

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said women continue to struggle in the workplace as the female union density rates remain low at 2.7 percent.

The FFW said that women’s employment in contractual work and odd jobs in the informal sector are significant barriers to their unionization.

The labor department reminded employers nationwide to ensure gender equality in the workplace.

In an advisory issued in support of International Women’s Month 2023, Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said employers must uphold the principles of equal pay for equal work as well as equal employment opportunities for women. – Helen Flores Mayen Jaymalin, Rudy Santos, Sheila Crisostomo, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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