Press Release
March 7, 2011

Legarda Seeks Strict Implementation of Laws on Women's Rights

Senator Loren Legarda today sought for the strict implementation of the country's laws on gender equality and women empowerment as the nation celebrates Women's Month.

Legarda said that despite having several laws on women's rights, the country is yet to achieve a society where men and women are considered equal.

"The role of women in our society has continuously evolved through the years. As more women have gained access to education, more have also joined the workforce, even participating in work and activities previously considered 'exclusive' for the male populace. However, more is not always equivalent to enough. More women participating in decision-making, whether within the family, the community, or the nation, does not mean they are already considered equal to men," she said.

Legarda explained that the Philippines already has laws such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Anti-Discrimination Against Women Act, the Women in Development and Nation Building Act, the Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act, and the Magna Carta of Women, among many others, yet statistics still indicate that the country is far from achieving equality between men and women.

Based on the records from the Philippine Commission on women, there are more girls enrolled in elementary and secondary education, but in terms of employment statistics, the male populace is still dominant. In the October 2009 Labor Force Survey (LFS), the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for females is at 49.3% and for males at 78.8%.

Participation of women in politics and governance is still at a minimal level with only 18% of the elected posts in the 2010 Elections won by women candidates.

Furthermore, violence against women (VAW) continues to surge even with the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004 (RA 9262) already in place. Following a six-year downward trend from 2001 to 2006, the number of violence against women cases reported to the Philippine National Police rose again in 2007 with 5,729 cases. There was further increase in 2008 with 6,905 cases, and more in 2009 with 9,485 cases.

"We already have all the necessary laws on women's rights. In fact, our country is considered as one of the best in terms of legislation with measures on various societal issues already in place. However, legislation is just one phase of the overall effort to achieve gender equality and women empowerment. These laws need to be strictly and faithfully implemented," the Senator said.

"The fight for gender equality and women empowerment, like any other issue in our society, can only be achieved and will only be successful when all sectors work together. This battle is not for women alone; men are part of it as well. This is not a battle of the sexes. This is an issue of giving equal opportunity to everyone, of respecting the rights of every person regardless of gender, of providing a chance to all citizens to excel in their chosen discipline in order that each and every individual may be able to live a fruitful life and contribute to nation building," Legarda stressed.

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