International Women's Day, March 8 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Tuesday, 08 March 2011 10:02

Statement of the Partido Lakas ng Masa

 

Win the fight for the passage of the RH Bill,

and continue the struggle for genuine gender equality,

economic and social justice!

 

It’s been 100 years since the first International Women’s Day march in 1911. While women have won the right to certain political freedoms such as the right to vote and political representation, we are still struggling for genuine and substantive gender equality – which means economic equality and social justice.

Poverty today has a woman’s face: 6 out of every 10 poor people are women and in the Philippines the number of poor people and poor women has grown in the last two decades. The system of elite rule in the country is preventing women from accessing economic and social resources, rights, and justice.

We know that around 11 Filipino women die everyday due to preventable childbirth-related complications. These are primarily poor women. It is estimated that about 40 percent of pregnant women are anemic, with even higher levels of 50 percent and over in some provinces in Mindanao. The diet of pregnant women is grossly inadequate, increasing the risk of both maternal mortality and the delivery of low-birth weight infants, who are also at risk of dying within their first years or of becoming undernourished in their pre-school years.

Women continue to struggle against unemployment, with only 50% of all eligible women working (compared to 80% for men). As a result the number of Filipino women pushed to work overseas has been increasing because of lack of decent jobs in the country. In 2009, 71,000 Filipino women left the country to work as domestic helpers; they made up 21 percent of the newly-hired in the top 10 job categories abroad.

However, the average cash remittances of women is only 60 percent that of men. This is indicative of the status of women OFWs in lesser skilled and unprotected lower paying jobs, which are also vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and abuse.

The trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation and forced labor has increased. Between 60,000 to 100,000 children and over 100,000 women are trafficked (internally and externally) annually. And although the number of cases filed for investigation by the Department of Justice has increased, there is no justice for these women victims. There have been only eight convictions of traffickers since 2003.

Media reports now also expose the fact that women OFWs are being used as drug couriers or mules by unscrupulous and extremely powerful criminal syndicates. These desperate women are also victims of corrupt law enforcement agencies who turn a blind eye to women being trafficked past airport and other security personnel.

Filipino women are facing increasing violence committed by government security forces, as seen in the recent cases involving a woman vendor that was raped by a police officer in a police station, of a child victim of sexual abuse and trafficking whose abuser the police chose to protect, and of women activists who continue to be threatened by the police for their political activities.

President Noynoy has pledged that his administration will fight corruption and alleviate poverty and that he supports women’s rights. But actions speak louder than words and so far there has been very little concrete action to follow through the government’s rhetoric.

On the contrary we have witnessed a great deal of backtracking on the president’s commitments, as seen by his back-tracking on the Reproductive Health Bill.  Although he made a verbal commitment to support the bill, he didn’t include it in the priority legislative agenda of his government. The Noynoy government’s economic policies based on Public-Private-Partnerships or PPP, instead of contributing to poverty reduction and job creation, will only deepen privatization of more public utilities and services, deregulation and contractualization and thus, increase women’s poverty.

Women are tired of waiting. We have been patient and have waited long enough. We are also unimpressed by sweet-talking presidents. We want results that move us forward towards genuine gender equality, economic and social justice, and we want them now.

We demand action, not words. We demand a program with measures that will redistribute wealth towards poor women and their families and communities.

Pass the RH Bill now! Increase funding for health services, especially reproductive health services!

Immediate moratorium on lay-offs! No to neoliberal economic policies, no to the public-private partnership policy! Stop contractualization and privatization!  A national public sector investment program for job creation in the Philippines! Provide all returning OFWs from the Middle East with employment in the Philippines!

Repeal the automatic debt appropriation law! Increase funding for social services, especially health and education! Recognize housework as productive work with appropriate monetary compensation!

Launch a nationwide campaign and education program against violence against women! No to the Visiting Forces Agreement!

Win the fight for the passage of the RH Bill! Continue the struggle for genuine gender equality – for our economic and social justice! Continue the struggle for our emancipation from elite rule!

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2011 10:05
 

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