It's year 106 for the International Women's Day (IWD) celebration, and a century after, does it still really matter? For the 45.7 million women living in the Philippines, it still does.
The issues majority of Filipinas deal with every day may not exactly mimic the roots of IWD, which sparked from the oppression of women in the U.S. and the U.K. in the 1900s. These issues, however, deal with the same theme: Inequality.
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This March 8, we celebrate what the campaign dubbed as the "global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women."
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) celebrates this year by empowering women to make change work through the strong implementation of the Magna Carta of Women.
The PCW celebrates National Women's Month 2017 with the theme "WE Make Change for Women."
Here are five empowering ways by which you can help accelerate gender parity:
1. Know your statistics. Did you know that more Filipino men are at work than women across all ages from 2006 to 2015? You can read about this and more at the Statistical Handbook on Women and Men in the Philippines 2016 released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This resource is filled to the brim with interesting data points that compare men and women's population, economic participation, work, education, health, and a lot more.
2. Read texts and discourse on gender discrimination and parity. And since we're in the topic of reading, Global and Philippine literature and academic resources are full of interesting readings which explore the roots of gender discrimination and the advantages we gain with gender parity. Here are a few interesting ones to look at:
Estado ni Juana: The State of Filipino Women Report by the PCW (2016)
We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2015)
Songs of Ourselves: Writings by Filipino Women in English by Edna Manlapaz (1994)
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler (1990)
The Filipino Woman in Focus, A Book of Readings edited by Amaryllis Torres (1989)
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (1989)
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)
3. Support social enterprises which uphold women's rights. One very concrete way to make a change is right in the palm of our hands, our wallets, or our bank accounts. Make a conscious effort to choose where your money goes, and this month meant to lend a voice to women, perhaps take time to look at the following products made by women and for women:
Anthill Fabric Gallery
Kinamot nga Buhat
4. Go out and push for women's agenda. Once you have read about why it's important to push for gender equality, take the next step and do something to contribute to this dream. Look out for school symposiums that discuss women's rights, volunteer for gender-related causes, sign up for activities that educate more people about gender issues, and be an ambassador of equality across every discussion or activity you have moving forward.
5. Empower yourself! Finally, examine the way you see yourself. No matter your sexual orientation, identity, and expression, the goodwill you allow yourself directly affects the way you deal with others as well. As a woman, if you don't think you're worth more or your body is beautiful as it is, then how can you empower others? As a man, if you don't see women as your equal, then you are only hurting half of the society you belong to, and that will surely reflect in the progress of the country.
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Banner photograph from Flickr user John Voo. Campaign photo from the Philippine Commission on Women.