Issue of March 10, 2019
Mt. Province

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We make change work for women

We are known for our intelligence, creativity, and the ability to think. Although men define strength, women are actually the ones who not only define power, but also establish it every moment. Being a mother and carrying a child in the womb for nine months is not easy to do, including giving birth and taking care of her family; just like my wife Jing and my Auntie Ansing and all the mothers out there. A mother’s love cannot be expressed with words. It can only be felt and it is the most beautiful emotion in the universe. The world dedicated March as a month to honor women.

We, men, must accept this, in all realms of our existence. It takes courage for a woman to stretch out her limits, show her ability, and to achieve her potential. She believes in influencing and not in being authoritative whether at work or home. The pros and cons of every situation are different but until today, every husband, father, brother, and friend is amazed when a woman takes up the charge and unveils her capabilities.

The National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD). In the Philippines, this celebration is pursuant to Proclamation 224 s. 1998 declaring the first week of March as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day.

Proclamation 227 s. 1998 provides for the observance of March as Women’s Role in History Month and Republic Act 6949 declares March 8 as National Women’s Day.

The theme, “We make change work for women” will be used from 2017 to 2022. It highlights the empowerment of women as active contributors to and claimholders of development. This pursuit of development is also anchored on the commitment of “Malasakit at pagbabago” or true compassion and real change.

The theme emphasizes that women should be active drivers in bringing about positive changes and that they should also reap from the fruits of development efforts. This can be made possible by empowering women – enabling them to meaningfully engage with other development stakeholders and by fully implementing the “Make change work.”

The 2017 to 2022 NWMC aims to inform and engage women as stakeholders of government programs and services – to promote citizen-centric governance and make “change” a conscious effort to know, understand, and provide what all citizens need; create and facilitate platforms to discuss good practices, gaps, challenges, and commitments in pursuing Gender and Development (GAD) – to strengthen implementation of the Magna Carta of Women; and inspire and empower women and girls to be agents of change – to contribute in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of all women.

Specifically, the Philippine Commission for Women (PWC) will lead major events for 2019 NWMC, which aims to introduce the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan and the GEWE Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Indicators Compendium to stakeholders; launch the Gender-Responsive Local Government Unit Toolkit and recognize the LGUs that contributed in the development of the tool; recognize additional Local Learning Hubs (LLH) and feature the model GAD programs of these LGUs; sign the partnership agreement between the PCW and the newly certified GAD LLH; and conduct continuing advocacy throughout March in line with the theme and focus of 2019 NWMC.

In Baguio City, government agencies and departments have scheduled activities for women starting with an advocacy campaign through radio and local television goes on, with women leader speakers of the Social Development Council. District health centers offer free papsmear, breast examination, and pre-natal check-up on the same period.

There will also be livelihood and practical skills training on beauty care, sewing, and weaving, cooking, and baking scheduled with the City Social Welfare and Development Office and civil society organizations, for the implementation of Anti-Poverty Commission Projects, as part of the celebration.

Last Friday (March 8), at the PFVR gymnasium was the awarding of the Outstanding Women Leaders’ (OWLS). This year’s awardees chosen from different fields were Dinah Dumayas for financial literacy, Rosalia Ocyaden for education, Raquel Versoza for tourism for, and Brenda Cariño, also for education.

A regional forum on the state of women’s rights and civil registry matters, and mid-year election matters are being scheduled with women’s groups, and coordinated with the Civil Registry Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Commission on Elections. On March 13, a day to observe conditions for Persons Deprived of Liberty women is mulled, as with a forum for disabled women on March 26, concurrently Disability Week. Forums on anti-bullying, teenage pregnancy, and human immunodeficiency virus are scheduled by the Department of Education, with requested in-depth discussion on mental health awareness and resiliency. The Health Service Office-Population Education Division in coordination with the Baguio Center for Young Adults is advocating a healthy lifestyle forum for 4Ps mothers, and barangay women, tentatively scheduled on March 22.

On March 27, the women’s group “One billion dance” with zumba is coordinated by the City Planning and Development Office. Socio-cultural contests; choral, ethnic and folk dance, ethnic attire fashion show and poster making for women groups is scheduled for the whole month.

Steve Maraboli, a renowned American researcher said, “The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.”

For an organization to succeed, it must be a workplace where curiosity, courage, confidence, caring, and commitment are valued traits. Where men are allies and agents of change.

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