The emergence of women became visible to the globe as more and more women began to break down barriers created by men. A significant global movement committed to women’s empowerment and fighting for their rights has developed recently and is still making progress.

Worldwide, the patriarchal society repressed women’s independence. Women were not permitted to cast ballots or express any opinions. As time passed, they understood that life was much more than merely taking care of the household. 

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • the connection between women’s empowerment and ending violence against women in the Philippines
  • the importance of women’s empowerment
  • different ways to promote women’s empowerment.

The Connection Between Women’s Empowerment and Ending Violence Against Women in the Philippines

One of the persistent societal issues in society is violence against women (VAW). According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 1 in 4 Filipino women between the ages of 15 and 49 reported having been the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by their husbands or partner in 2017. 

The fact that many cases of VAW go unreported due to the “culture of silence” endured by victims makes this problem even worse. In addition, there needs to be more concrete data to demonstrate the scope of VAW in the Philippines. Many victims are embarrassed to talk about their experiences. In contrast, others tend to minimize them out of a lack of confidence in the country’s legal system and dissatisfaction with the handling of their complaints.

To deal with VAW, some government systems have already been put in place. Additionally, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are engaged in this struggle. When this problem in the Philippines end is still uncertain, but if ongoing VAW efforts are sustained, hope may be raised.

How Does Women’s Empowerment Affect Population?

Empowering women is the best strategy for lowering fertility rates and achieving a population size that doesn’t exceed the Earth’s carrying capacity. No nation has yet achieved complete gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women’s rights, freedoms, and opportunities differ greatly around the world. 

According to the United Nations, nearly half of the partnered women in low- and middle-income countries still lack decision-making power over their bodies, which means they cannot make their own decisions about health care, contraception use, or whether or not to have sex. 

Furthermore, gender-based violence continues to afflict 1 in every 3 women worldwide. Approximately 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy do not use modern, safe contraception. As a result, half of all pregnancies globally are unplanned. 

Some of the lowest gender equality scores are found in the regions with the fastest population growth. Average family size decreases when women can decide what happens to their bodies and lives. 

How Women's Empowerment in the Philippines is Key to Ending Violence Against Women
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

What is Women’s Empowerment in the Philippines?

Women’s empowerment in the Philippines is the process of granting women the ability to live a happy and respectable life in society. Women can be empowered by supporting their sense of self-worth, their freedom to make their own decisions, and their right to impact social change for themselves and others.

In line with these goals, the United Nations Global Compact, in partnership with UN Women, developed the Women’s Empowerment Principles to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community. These principles are as follows: 

  • Principle 1: Establish high corporate leadership for gender equality
  • Principle 2: Treat all men and women fairly at work while respecting and supporting human rights and nondiscrimination
  • Principle 3: Ensure the safety, health, and well-being of all female and male workers
  • Principle 4: Promote training, education, and professional development for women
  • Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, and marketing practices that empower women
  • Principle 6: Promote equality with the help of community initiatives and advocacy
  • Principle 7: Measure and publicly make well-known on the progress to achieve gender equality

Why Women’s Empowerment is Important

  • Empowering women is essential for the well-being and socio-economic development of families, communities, and countries.
  • When women live safe, happy, and productive lives, they can reach their full potential, raising happier, healthier children and contributing their skills to the workforce. They can also support healthy economies, advance societies, and benefit humanity.
  • Education plays a big role in this empowerment. Girls who receive an education can, later on, pursue meaningful employment and boost their nation’s economy.

How to Promote Women’s Empowerment in the Philippines

What does empowering women actually entail in real life, particularly for other women? 

Upholding women’s empowerment in day-to-day life can be exercised in various ways. It may be shown by simply boosting your friends’ self-esteem through compliments or supporting women-run businesses. I, for one, promote women’s empowerment by encouraging my friends to speak up and know the value of their opinions, especially if they’ve witnessed or experienced injustice in school or the workplace. 

It can also go as extensively as advocating for women’s rights by participating in capacity-building efforts to address the needs of women across disadvantaged communities. 

When we come to think of it, this seems too far-fetched for a country where patriarchy dominates. Starting from scratch may seem intimidating; however, we must always remember there is power in collective action and collaborative effort. Women need to support each other, as we are more powerful if we are united in sisterhood. Below are strategies that promote women’s empowerment in the community and worldwide. 

1. Through Art

Frida Kahlo frequently stands out among the greatest feminists of the 20th century. Her women’s empowerment art and her cult of personality have contributed to a legacy of feminine fortitude that has outlived her. 

Kahlo addressed delicate and even taboo facets of womanhood in her paintings. During Kahlo’s lifetime, marianismo culture predominated as the standard for how women should behave, speak, and look in her own Mexico and most of Latin America. 

Kahlo’s artwork reflected complete defiance of this marianismo notion of male submission. Kahlo depicted the female experience and women’s difficulties in vivid, strong colors for the world to see, as opposed to keeping modest and silent about them.

By portraying a perspective on creation with uniquely feminine images in “Moses (The Nucleus of Creation)” (1945), Kahlo retaliated against her husband Diego Rivera’s male-centric “Man, Controller of the Universe” fresco. Here, Kahlo imagines the universe as looking like a uterus from a distance.

2. Women’s Empowerment Program

The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017–2022 is covered by the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan 2019–2025. This is part of the women’s empowerment program of the country. 

One of the strategic goals of this plan is to expand economic opportunities for women. To concretize this goal, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) implemented the E-Peso Project. The project aims to improve Filipina entrepreneurs’ access to markets by introducing them to the digital economy and providing them with the information and resources they need to succeed as online sellers. 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) helped the DTI train female entrepreneurs in the digital space. This training enabled 348 female business owners to launch online storefronts, which during their first six months of operation brought in P36 million.

The six-year project was completed last February 2021 as announced by the USAID. By introducing online and mobile payment platforms for property taxes, construction and business permits, and other fees and charges, E-Peso helped 11 local government units (LGUs) boost efficiency. 

3. Women’s Empowerment Activities

Nonetheless, the country has progressed from portraying women as submissive and humble persons to formidable nation builders and leaders. It would be an understatement to say that all of this can be attributed to the government’s efforts. Still, it cannot be denied that the Constitution and its supporting statutes paved the path for the formalization of women’s protection through different women’s empowerment activities. 

Justice 

A few laws in the Philippines deal with the issues of abuse and violence against women. 

  • The “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004,” Republic Act No. 9262, lays out the punishments for such actions. 
  • The “Anti-Rape Law of 1997” is another prime illustration. The idea of “marital rape,” which shields married women from their husbands’ sexual assault, is one of its main components. 

In summary, there are laws in the Philippines to ensure the protection of women, yet not enough. Regulations for prostitution and media and cyber exploitation of women still need to be strengthened.

Education 

Since the American Thomasites founded their academic institutions and followed the Spanish pattern of enrolling male students, education has long been accessible to people of all genders. The girls of today not only excel over their biological counterparts but also enjoy gender equality. 

The basic and functional literacy rates for women in the Philippines are 90.4% and 86.3%, respectively, compared to 80.6% and 81.9% for men, according to the National Statistics Office of the Philippines. This does not suggest a “war of the sexes” but instead demonstrates that the Philippines provide a space for gender equality and women’s empowerment to foster healthy intellectual rivalry.

Politics 

There are female lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, including Senators Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The “Party-list System Act” also allows lawmakers better to comprehend women’s demands in the Lower House.

Gabriela, a party-list organization advocating the interests of women, has continuously won a congressional seat in past elections. Women’s involvement in government affairs in the Philippines is primarily expanding.

Health 

All Filipino women have made significant progress because of the Reproductive Health Law, which gives them more freedom to make decisions about their health, families, and social participation. Millions of Filipino women will now be able to regain control of their fertility, health, and lives with universal and free access to modern contraception.

Final Words

Although there is certainly space for progress in addressing women’s issues in the Philippines, it is by far a great place to become a woman. One of the nicest things your country could give you is the opportunity to dream and create your destiny without undue constraints. The Philippines might set an example for its Asian neighbors by accepting that everyone deserves equal opportunity and respect regardless of looks, size, color, age, or gender.

References

Empowerment of women. European Institute for Gender Equality. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://eige.europa.eu/thesaurus/terms/1102#:~:text=Women’s%20empowerment%20has%20five%20components,influence%20the%20direction%20of%20social 

Frida Kahlo and women’s empowerment. Kahlo in Color. (2017, December 14). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://kahloincolor.wordpress.com/frida-kahlo-and-womens-empowerment/ 

Girls’ and women’s empowerment. Population Connection. (2022, July 19). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://populationconnection.org/why-population/girls-and-womens-empowerment/ 

Gender equality and women empowerment plan. Philippine Commission on Women. (2022, July 22). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://pcw.gov.ph/gewe-plan/ 

Sponsor a child. Women’s Empowerment – Facts, Stories and How To Help | World Vision Australia. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://www.worldvision.com.au/womens-empowerment/#important 

Violence against women. Philippine Commission on Women. (2022, July 7). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://pcw.gov.ph/violence-against-women/ 

Women in the Philippines: Inspiring and empowered. Asia Society. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://asiasociety.org/philippines/women-philippines-inspiring-and-empowered 


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How Women’s Empowerment in the Philippines is Key to Ending Violence Against Women

By Cam Adajar

Cam is a Registered Microbiologist, having graduated Bachelor of Science in Biology major in Microbiology, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Despite her love of science evident in her educational background, she found solace and purpose with writing, and is now working as a freelance writer for multiple clients and as a content manager for a start-up company. Cam is also a women’s empowerment advocate, believing that taking care of women’s health is the same as taking care of women’s rights. She's currently taking up her Juris Doctorate degree at San Sebastian College-Recoletos.