PH gender gap is on violence

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


DISEMPOWERED women are prone to abuse and violence, a college professor says.

“Some of us are disempowered because of lack of skills,” said Edna Lee of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu yesterday afternoon.

She said women will be empowered if they are taught about their rights.

Last year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported in its Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) that the Philippines placed fifth out of 136 countries with the least gender disparity, while still leading the list of Asian nations.

GGGI looks into the gap between men and women in four key categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The Philippines ranked first in educational attainment and health survival category, and placed 10th in political empowerment and 16th in economic participation and opportunity.

“The Philippines is the highest-ranking country in Asia, primarily due to success in health, education and economic participation. The Philippines is the only country in Asia and the Pacific that has fully closed the gender gap in both education and health,” WEF said.

But UP Cebu professor Rhodora Bucoy said there is still a gap in gender equality that needs to be addressed: violence against women.

Lee and Bucoy along with their fellow professor, Kaira Alburo-Cañete, and Senior Insp. Maria Theresa Macatangay shared their ideas in a forum about the condition of women in disaster-hit areas and the menace of human trafficking.

Studies

The activity was organized by the UP Cebu Gender and Development Office and Sidlak Gender Resource Center 7.

Cañete said women in evacuation camps are prone to different kinds of abuse because they are not protected.

In her study, she recorded 76 females being abused in four evacuation sites in a northern Mindanao city after typhoon Sendong in 2011.

For Bucoy, human trafficking is a “blatant form” of violence against women and children that should be stopped.

Macatangay, the Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) 7 head, said the report they gathered states that trafficking in persons is not only practiced by people who call themselves poor, but also by the “rich and learned.”

She said cybersex operations are not exclusive in Cordova because it is a problem in other countries.

Since 2009, RAHTTF 7 arrested 105 suspects and rescued 582 victims, 64 of them minors, including those involved in cybersex operations.

Three suspects were already convicted in court, she said.

Academe partnership

Macatangay also encouraged the academe to help the law enforcement agencies in fighting human trafficking by teaching about the problem to the students.

Case studies, she said, may be done by the academe to shed light on the matter.

“The Police Regional Office 7 is resolved to continue our relentless against human trafficking in all forms from virtual exploitation, child pornography to actual exploitation,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 13, 2014.

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