Women and men in GAD
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS (The Freeman) - March 9, 2016 - 9:00am

Perhaps our country has come to age in gender awareness. The then oppressed women are empowered through various programs from government and non-government organizations.  They know their rights, they are better equipped with livelihood skills, and their confidence is obvious in their assertive manner.

More and more women are now occupying positions of leadership, and they are treated with the same respect given to men; in fact, sometimes with more admiration especially when they thrive in professions that were stereotyped as men’s work.

It is wonderful to see more ladies getting out of their shell, and fighting for their rights as wives, when their menfolk batter them for lack of economic contribution,  jealousy or simply to display a displaced machismo and position of dominance.

The participation of women in nation-building is now recognized as  they seriously take on their part as mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, surrogates, house helps, and the many other feminine roles. 

When quantified, the work done by the women, which is not immediately materially compensated if at all, shows the great value being doled out by fairer sex to the home, and mostly done all in the name of love. For the love of her children, her spouse and her family in general, a woman goes to great lengths to support her husband in earning.

Because of the focus of the Gender and Development (GAD) on women, help desks were set up to address issues faced by women.  Domestic violence, economic oppression, sexual harassment and even rape, and the need for livelihood programs.

The skills developed took on a more feminine slant, which somehow, in the passage of time, alienated the men.

In my observation, programs of both the government and the non-government groups have become so women-centered that the men have been left out.

When a man is not employed, and is no longer in his youth,  it is harder for him to get back to his feet unless he is very skilled  since most of the livelihood programs under the GAD are for women. 

When a man is sexually harassed and yes, even raped, he has no one to talk to and since just like women it is a very personal violence, men take it just as hard, if not harder as it is so unexpected of a man to be molested.

A less empowered man, sadly, in our society and perhaps in the nature of his own psyche, either becomes a derelict, depressed or a total dependent on the more dominant figure at home, which may be a wife, a mother or a child.

For some men, whose wives and family have been open to reversed roles, being a houseband  is just as fulfilling.  But most men of most cultures would prefer to gather their natural tendency to be in control, and to be the main provider and protector of his family.

The need for equal treatment of men and women under the gender programs is felt. In majority of the barangays I have visited, they have a “women’s desk” under gender and development programs but there is no “men’s desk”. Whys is this so? Perhaps it would be good to consider men as well in future programs so that they too can take their rightful place as originally designed by God.

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