Women: Meant but restrained from greater things

The promotion of women's rights and gender equality continues to grow in many parts of the world. However, many advocates feel that a lot more must be done in order to fully realize the end of gender-biased violence and exploitation of women across many countries.

The International Women's Month is celebrated every March to recognize and honor the contribution and role women play in today's modern world.

The promotion of women's rights and gender equality continues to grow in many parts of the world. However, many advocates feel that a lot more must be done in order to fully realize the end of gender-biased violence and exploitation of women across many countries. While there is a general expectation of positive progress in these areas due to technological advancements and greater social awareness, there are still many recorded cases of abuse and discrimination against women in both developed and developing countries.

To this date, various forms of violence against women have been reported according to UN Women where:

  • 35% of women worldwide experienced physical/sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives
  • 70% of women experienced physical/sexual violence from an intimate partner
  • About 650 million women/girls were married before 18 years of age
  • About 15 million adolescent girls worldwide experienced forced sex at some point in their lives
  • Around 1 out of 3 students (aged 11 and 13-15 years) were bullied by schoolmates at least once a day in a month.

Locally, at least 1 woman or child is raped every 72 minutes based on statistics from the Philippine National Police in 2018. Despite intensified peace and order efforts to curb crime, there remains at least 20 reported cases of rape daily.

Street harassment continues to be a recurring practice across many communities, which prompted lawmakers to enact the Safe Spaces Act of 2019 where misogynistic acts, sexist slurs, wolf-whistling, catcalling, intrusive gazing, cursing, and persistent telling of sexual jokes, either in public or online, are penalized.

Civil society, government and concerned communities have continued to pursue reforms in order to improve the state and well-being of women locally and globally. These state actors have successfully lobbied for the passage of critical laws which aim to uplift the situation of women today.

The Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 was enacted to protect women against "physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse." The Magna Carta of Women of 2010 was passed to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of women, particularly those in the marginalized sectors.

Truth be told- it is our misogynist and patriarchal culture that obstructs equal and fair treatment of women in our society. Stereotypes continue to exist which limit the participation of women in activities, tasks and responsibilities even as they are more physically, mentally and emotionally fit to perform such than their male counterparts.

In reality, there is no equality between men and women. Women were able to endure more throughout centuries of oppression and discrimination. The role of women will only continue to expand in the future.

The rejection of some quarters on women reveal a truth society must recognize--- women are generally better than men. This statement is coming from a man. Happy International Women’s Month!

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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