Fight for women’s rights, welfare must go beyond laws

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IMPORTANCE for women’s rights go beyond laws and should be emphasized especially under the current administration, various stakeholders said as International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8.

In a statement on Friday, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia said despite laws such as the Magna Carta for Women, women still experience sexist treatment, especially under the rule of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“(G)enuine appreciation for the worth of women and their rights go beyond pieces of legislation. Women continue to bear the brunt of misogynistic remarks and are often subjects of rape jokes, which, at times, translate to catcalling and other forms of harassment online and in the streets. The ongoing anti-drug campaign equally impacts women in communities-they are forced to single-handedly raise a family when confronted with the loss of fathers, sons, or brothers due to alleged extrajudicial killings,” she said.

Still, Ms. De Guia noted “certain wins” for women under the current administration, “such as the signing of the expanded maternity leave act, support for a national family planning program, the signed executive order meant to accelerate the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, and the support for the Magna Carta of Women.”

For his part, Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan said this day marks the success of women who have endured challenges under patriarch society.

“Maybe because we, especially men, are being reminded that under patriarchy, the dominant thought and culture in society, women have gone a long way in their struggle for equality, recognition of their ability, and acknowledgment of their distinct fight. Times are different: Rape and misogyny have become regular topics of joke. Crimes have been normalized. Women’s dignity has been under attack,” he said in a Friday statement.

In such an environment, detained Senator Leila M. de Lima said the fight against inequality should be stressed more than ever.

“The unmistakable odor of a decaying system can no longer be masked by misogynist remarks and rape jokes that are now consistently being used to lend humor to presidential speeches. This is why we know our fight for gender equality is on the right track,” she said.

In a statement from Malacañang on Friday on the celebration of International Women’s Day, Mr. Duterte called on sectors to promote equality for women.

“May this event serve as a testament to our firm commitment to always inform and engage various stakeholders — whether in the government, the private sector or in civic organizations. In this manner, we can promote gender equality and out in place functional mechanisms that ensure any developmental effort would be inclusive and gender responsive,” he said

Presidential Spokesperson Salavador S. Panelo noted that since Mr. Duterte took office, progress in gender equality was observed.

“The Duterte Administration has been at the forefront in advancing women’s rights in the Philippines. It is under the current government when the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 placed the Philippines as the most gender equal nation in Asia and ranked it as the 8th in the list of best countries in the world to be a woman,” Mr. Panelo said in a statement. — GMC