On the International Women's Day 2018 By UP SESC | March 8, 2018
History has not been kind to women. For decades, they have been underestimated and discriminated against - perceived to be the inferior sex. However, history has also shown us that amidst an oppressive society, there have been strong, extraordinary women who rose above the norms set in their time. We must remember Liliosa Hilao, a student activist who was imprisoned during martial law for using her voice against the dictatorial government. Years before her was Gabriela Silang, another woman of strength and honor took up arms and fought for the country. They are just some of the many women who have set the standards higher for the generations after. Throughout the years, more and more women have have been recognized and have excelled in their respective fields, proving that women are capable of almost anything.
Women have come far in fighting for their rights such as the right to vote and their right to education. They have also shown their strength and courage in the face of discrimination, abuse, and violence. Their voices have not been silenced and instead - it has been made even louder with movements such as HeForShe and #MeToo that call attention to the injustices and harassments that women continue to face. The fruits of the labor of the women before us manifest in the growing numbers that continue to fight the same fight until present day. The emergence of women leaders also significantly impacted society and changed perspectives on the roles of women in society. In fact, the formation of Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the policy-making body on women and gender equality, and the enactment of Republic Act 9710, the Magna Carta for Women, promote women empowerment among many things, by leveling the playing field and integrating women into society to make opportunities equally available to all people, and to allow each one to play a role in development and nation-building.
Championing women’s rights has become possible through collective actions done with the help of evolving movements. Women-led protests have been happening since 1909 and led to the proclamation of March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace (Smith, 2015).
Though the women’s rights movement has already come this far - the battle is not over. Globally, women still face forms of discrimination in the workplace - from being rejected from jobs and school positions to earning lower than their male counterparts. Policies in developing countries have yet to incorporate the unpaid work that women undertake despite studies showing that “women in developing countries work more than men, with less time for education, leisure, political participation and self-care.” Though a lot of mindsets have been broken, there are still thousands more that have to be changed.
The UP SESC strongly upholds the rights of women and is with them in their continuous fight for equality. We encourage everyone to look at society critically and recognize the inequalities still present, because it is through dismantling these inequalities that women can recognize their potential and contribute to society.
To all the moms, daughters, wives, girlfriends, co-workers, classmates, and the rest of the women out there, know that you no longer have to strive to find your own identities or your place in this world, because in this fight, we’re fighting with you. Though opposition may come, may you all fight back harder and stronger, more hopeful each time as you remember that you’re not alone.