The National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD). The following issuances serve as legal bases for the annual activity: Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day; Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.
In 2017, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Board Members and Inter-Agency Technical Working Group identified the NWMC theme “We Make Change Work for Women,” which shall be used from 2017-2022. It highlights the empowerment of women as active contributors to and claim holders of development. This pursuit of development is also anchored on the commitment of “Malasakit at Pagbabago” or True Compassion and Real Change. The 2019 NWMC shall focus on strengthening efforts to improve and track the progress of implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW), and other relevant laws and commitments to the international community such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WE stands for Women’ Empowerment – empowering women enables them to confidently and meaningfully engage with appropriate institutions to ensure that they contribute to and benefit from development and changes. Thus, women’s empowerment will make the change that we are espousing or any development effort responsive of women’s concerns.
Make Change Work = MCW = Magna Carta of Women – making change work for women necessitates strengthening the implementation of the MCW at all levels. It means putting in place functional mechanisms as well as implementing and making known to citizens, programs and services that address strategic gender needs of women.
Change – also means Compassionate and Harmonized Actions and Networks for Gender Equality.
We/us or “kami/tayo” in Filipino – who is going to pave the way for an enabling environment for women to be empowered? Who is going to ensure that the MCW is implemented at all levels? Who is going to make change work for women? It is all of us, in our various capacities whether as government officials and employees, members of the private sector, the academe, non-government organizations, or as private individuals. We can be partners for a change that is gender-responsive. It emphasizes our collective effort, collaboration and participation to ensure that women will not be left behind in the pursuit of change.
The theme emphasizes that women should be active drivers in bringing about positive changes, and that they should also reap from fruits of development efforts. This can be made possible by empowering women – enabling them to meaningfully engage with other development stakeholders, and by fully implementing the MCW.
The 2017-2022 NWMC generally aims to: 1) inform and engage women as stakeholders of government programs and services – to promote citizen-centric governance and make “change” a conscious effort to know, understand, and provide what ALL citizens need; 2) create and facilitate platforms to discuss good practices, gaps, challenges, and commitments in pursuing gender and development (GAD) – to strengthen implementation of the Magna Carta of Women; and 3) inspire and empower women and girls to be agents of change – to contribute in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of all women.
Specifically, the PCW-led major events for NWMC 2019 aim to: 1) introduce the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan and the GEWE Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Indicators Compendium to stakeholders; 2) launch the Gender-Responsive Local Government Unit (GERL) Toolkit and recognize the LGUs that contributed in the development of the tool; 3) recognize additional Local Learning Hubs (LLH) and feature the model GAD programs of these LGUs; 4) sign the partnership agreement between the PCW and the newly certified GAD Local Learning Hubs; and 5) conduct continuing advocacy throughout March in line with the theme and focus of NWMC.
"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
"No man succeeds without a good woman behind him. Wife or mother, if it is both, he is twice blessed indeed." ~ Godfrey Winn
"I know who I am. I am not perfect. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I'm one of them." ~ Mary J. Blige