The observance of International Women’s Day (IWD) was a result of the organizing activities of women in the early 20th Century. Between 1909 and 1911, working women in the United States participated in organizing strike activities of the National Women’s Trade Union League and other concerned groups. They were responding to the low wages, lack of protective legislation and the poor working conditions to which women workers were subjected during that time.
The demonstrations were an offshoot of the tragic March 25 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which took the lives of more than 140 working girls, mostly Italian and Jewish immigrants. Subsequently, the inhumane working conditions and other unfair labor practices leading up to the disaster were invoked during observances of IWD.
In Europe, Clara Zetkin and the Socialist Women’s International demanded that March 8th be the International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated each year to recognize workingwomen around the world. The celebration of IWD has since stimulated major historical events. For instance, IWD was the inspiration for the general strike which began the Russian Revolution in St. Petersburg in 1917 when 10, 000 women textile workers demonstrated.
It is due to such history of women organizing around the world that IWD was officially recognized by the United Nations to celebrate women’s contributions to all societies.
II. LEGAL MANDATE
- Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day;
- Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and
- Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.
III. 2015 THEME
Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) promotes the full participation and equitable representation of women in all spheres of society particularly in the decision-making and policy-making processes in government and private entities, in order to fully realize their role as agents and beneficiaries of development.
Statistics, however, revealed that disparities among men and women in elective posts and in traditionally male/female dominated agencies in government are still evident. Women are still a minority in top level positions in such agencies as public works, national defense and law enforcement. While opportunities for women in politics and decision-making are opening up, many still hesitate to take on leadership positions due to reproductive roles, conservative mindsets and a belief that politics and leadership are not women’s world (BPfA+20: Philippine Progress Report on the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 2014).
This year’s celebration aims to pay tribute to all women leaders who passionately led and continue to advance women’s advocacies. Their key roles and accomplishments in leadership, power and decision-making will be highlighted in order to influence and break the conservative mindset and belief that politics and leadership are not for women. The celebration will also be a perfect time to drum up the call for “Juanas” to run in public office since the last quarter of 2015 is the period of filing of candidacy for 2016 election.
The objectives of this year’s celebration are as follows:
- To recognize and highlight women’s key roles and accomplishments in leadership, power and decision-making.
- To increase awareness on engaging women to participate at all levels of policy and decision-making.
- To share strategies and best practices women have employed to become successful women leaders.
V. STATISTICS OF WOMEN IN POWER AND DECISION-MAKING
- There are only six (6) women senators out of 24 senatorial seats for the term 2013-2016.
- There are only 79 women legislators out of 289 seats in the lower house for the term 2013-2016.
- 2013 elections result showed that 22.5% of the total gubernatorial posts are occupied by women and 18.5% of the total vice gubernatorial posts is occupied also by women. There are also 20.86% of women who were elected as municipal mayors in 2013.
- There are 56 women who have been appointed in the highest positions in the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary (Official Gazette, March 2014). Among these are the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman, the Secretaries of the Departments of Justice, Social Welfare and Development, Labor and Employment; the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on Higher Education, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the head of the Government Panel for Peace, Negotiation, the Bureau of International Revenue, and many others.
- Between 2002 and 2010, the percentage of women in key posts in the Foreign Affairs Department (Ambassador and Consul General) rose from 28% to 35%.
- The percentage of women in career executive service officers (CESO) rose to 42% in 2010 from 37% in 1999.
VI. PROPOSED ACTIVITIES
As the lead advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality, the PCW has lined up a series of activities for the National Women’s Month celebration that will give due highlight in women’s key leadership roles and accomplishments in different sector (media, politics, etc.). Below is a list of activities that PCW is organizing and co-organizing with other organizations.
1. ONLINE ADVOCACY FOR 2015 WOMEN’S MONTH CELEBRATION
- JUANA KNOW? –Trivia and facts about women in leadership, power and decision-making
- JUANA SAYS – Inspiring quotes of Filipino women leaders
- JUANA SHARES – Stories and experiences of women leaders
2. 2015 WOMEN’S MONTH PHOTO CONTEST
In partnership with Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), this photo contest aims to get the public perception on women’s roles in politics or decision-making process. This is open to all amateur photographers.
3. PRESS CONFERENCE – ESTADO NI JUANA: THE PHILIPPINE PROGRESS REPORT ON THE BPfA+20
This press conference aims to present the Philippine progress report of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) + 20 covering 12 areas of concern. The press conference will be held shortly after the Presidential briefing at Malacañang, Manila.
4. NATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY PROGRAM & SIMULTANEOUS NATIONWIDE STREETDANCE –– March 08, 2015, 5AM Venue: Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City
The Philippine celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD) will have two major highlights – the Report on the State of the Filipino Women, and the simultaneous street dance to celebrate our achievements in empowering Juanas and encourage more Juanas to step up, participate and lead in different sectors. Local Government Units (LGUs) are enjoined to organize their own IWD activity and join the nationwide street dance. LGUs and Regional / Provincial offices of government agencies that are joining the nationwide street dance are encouraged to inform PCW of their venue, so that they may be included in the press release for IWD.
5. FORUM ON WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP, POWER AND DECISION MAKING: “WHY WOMEN? WHY NOW? WHY YOU?” – March 24, 2015, Venue: Pamantasan ng Lungsod Pasig
The forum is open to women employees of the government, particularly those occupying second level positions. It will serve as a venue for them to learn from the sharing of experiences of different women leaders in civil society, academe, bureaucracy and electoral body, thus, inspiring them and creating opportunities for them to exercise and develop their leadership and decision-making skills.
6. WOMEN AND MEDIA SUMMIT – March 26, 2015, 1PM Venue: GSIS Theater, Pasay City
The Women and Media Summit is a venue of sharing best practices of women in the media. This will also highlight media’s role and influence on “Juana’s” political power and leadership, and her participation to promote gender-sensitivity and gender-responsiveness in all forms of media. Women media experts, covering TV, radio, film, print, and online media, will be invited. It will also be the venue for the awarding ceremony of the 2015 GADtimpala Awards for media and Women’s Month Photo Contest.
7. ORGANIZE A FILM SHOWING IN YOUR AGENCY/LGU.
Agencies/LGUs may organize a film showing activity as part of the Women’s Month Celebration. Films that highlight women’s various roles and positive contribution to the society may be used for the film showing. PCW is endorsing the movie BOSES by ERASTO Film Productions. For BOSES film details and arrangements, you may contact Ms. Florabel Banca at 0916-635-2228, (02) 3327485, (02) 2364347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about 2015 Women’s Month Celebration, please contact the Information Resource Management Division (IRMD) at 735-1654 local 131 or 735-85-09 or email email@example.com. Visit www.facebook.com/philippine.commission.on.women, follow @PCWgovph and subscribe to PCW’s Youtube Channelwww.youtube.com/CommissionOnWomenPH for updates.