The Commission on Human Rights, Gabriela Alliance of Filipino Women and Sariaya opens women’s month with the theme “Kababaihan para sa Karapatan; Kababaihan para sa Makatarungang Lipunan.” They highlight the role of women in advocating for human rights rights of all and in creating a just and inclusive society. This contributes to this month’s overall theme “We for gender equality and inclusive society,” which calls on every one’s contribution towards a gender equal and inclusive society.
As Gender Ombud, the Commission welcomes the opportunity to open women’s month in the company of women human rights defenders. Since its beginnings in 2016, Purple Action Day has always been a space for making women’s voices heard, it has always been a space to seek accountability, to resist, and to surface women’s urgent issues. It has been a space for solidarity and collective action.
Under the 6th Commission, this will continue. We continue the call for the full enjoyment of women’s rights, we call for non-discrimination, and protection from all forms of violence, especially women human rights defenders. We also highlight the role of women leaders and advocates in advancing good governance, ensuring that no one is left behind, and in making social justice a reality for all.
While we are slowly recovering from the pandemic, it is clear that the rising cost of living and the impact of the pandemic on the economy continue to burden women, especially the women in low income households. Women continue to be overly represented in the informal economy and continue to bear the burden of unpaid care work. While mechanisms to address gender-based violence are now more functional compared to the past two years, we continue to be hounded by gender stereotypes and insensitive treatment by duty bearers. We need to collectively continue working on this.
The Commission is also aware of the many forms of violence and harassment committed against women human rights defenders. We reiterate that the State has the primary obligation to ensure an enabling environment for all human rights defenders and to protect defenders from threats and attacks.
We need also to mention that today is the International Zero Discrimination Day. We thus take the occasion to note the barriers that the SOGIE Equality Bill and the Comprehensive Anti Discrimination Bill (CADB) are facing both in the House and in the Senate. We thus reiterate the call to end all forms of discrimination and we reiterate the call for the immediate passage of CADB and SOGIE equality bills.
Lastly, we also highlight the role of women in governance and in making social justice a reality. We celebrate leaders like Mayor Joy who has shown through her work in Quezon City – how inclusive and transformative leadership impacts the lives of all – especially the most marginalized. We also highlight the work of our community leaders and CSO partners – who conduct awareness raising in their communities, who lead campaigns, call for accountability, and call for full realization and enjoyment of rights. Thus, we welcome the launch of the Purple Movement – a movement focusing on women’s political participation and representation.
This Purple Action Day, we stand together with fellow advocates, rendering visible women’s urgent issues and concerns — and living the legacy of International Women’s Day as a day of resistance, collective struggle, and action. Kababaihan, nasa ating kamay ang pagpanday sa isang pantay at makatarungang lipunan! Padayon!