Editorial: Harness WE for all genders


The year 2024 continues the theme of the 2023 commemoration of National Women’s Month: “WE for gender equality and inclusive society.”

According to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), WE is a significant acronym as women and other stakeholders continue the fight to promote women’s rights and welfare.

Standing for “women and everyone,” the WE acronym underscores that the process for transforming society into a gender-sensitive one involves all stakeholders. As a social media meme expressed aptly, “Do not hide your daughters. Educate your sons.”

Women’s empowerment is another idea behind the acronym WE, according to the PCW.

Formerly known as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the PCW is the body taking the lead in making policies and coordinating for women and gender equality.

The passage of Republic Act 9710, also known as the Magna Carta of Women, on Aug. 14, 2009 included the renaming of the NCRFW to the PCW, as well as the expansion of its mandate to include the monitoring of the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women by government institutions and other stakeholders.

In the country, laws have been passed that codify women’s empowerment, which rests on a recognition of women’s equal rights in law, access to opportunities for their betterment, and the full participation of women in practicing their rights and availing of these opportunities.

By these metrics, the Philippines is a long way from claiming it has achieved full gender parity.

The Global Gender Gap Report monitors that “progress is slow” in closing the gap between women and men, monitoring that it remains at 68.4 percent.

According to the World Economic Forum, the Global Gender Gap Index is the “longest-standing index” that was initiated in 2006 to the efforts of 146 countries to achieve gender parity in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

No country has achieved 100 percent gender parity. According to the Global Gender Gap Index, another 131 years are needed to achieve this goal.

This projection should spur our efforts, collectively and individually, to share the stake in bringing about gender parity, which is hinged on equality and inclusivity.

Inclusivity means that our society does not only prioritize two genders—female and male—but also embrace members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and others (LGBTQIA+) community.

As a gender that has gained hard-fought victories over discrimination and continues its struggle towards gender parity, women must be in solidarity with other genders that experience the same denial of their human rights and stigmatization that prevents the full actualization of their potentials and aspirations.

Educational attainment, a significant channel for self-actualization and social security, is essential for all genders. Closing the digital divide—meaning not just access to technology but also digital literacy—will enable all genders to acquire and enhance the needed skills, such as on technological literacy and artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, identified by the Global Gender Gap Index as being in the top 10 skills that will be demanded in the future.

The gender gaps are pronounced in the labor market, particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and technology (Stem) livelihoods.

Stem is projected to be a high-growth sector for future employment. Based on Linkedin data on members’ job profiles, the Global Gender Gap Index shows that only 29.2 percent of Stem workers are women, compared to women workers who represent 49.3 percent of the non-STEM professionals.

Women representation has to increase also in business and political leadership.

To accomplish gender parity for all, women and all other genders must harmonize and become partners in moving towards equality and empowerment.


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