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MANILA, PHILIPPINES (24 August 2004) - Despite significant improvements in advancing gender equality
and empowering women, the Philippines still needs to address pressing social issues to reduce poverty
and grow its economy further.

This was the conclusion made by a country gender assessment in the Philippines by the Southeast Asia
Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which was released today. It is one of a series of
studies on the status and role of women in ADB's developing member countries. The assessment will
assist ADB staff in formulating country strategies and programs, and in designing and implementing
projects.

"Gender disparities slow down economic development and deepen poverty," says Peter Fedon, Director
of ADB's Southeast Asia Social Sectors Division. "Recognizing gender equality is one of the overriding
issues for sustainable development and poverty reduction." The study recommends mainstreaming
gender issues into ADB's policies and development programs in the Philippines. Gender considerations
should be in all phases of projects - from planning, design, implementation, and monitoring and
evaluation.

The study says urgent government action is needed to address the high population growth rate, poor
reproductive health, unwanted fertility, illiteracy, and discrimination against women. With a population
approaching 84 million, the Philippines is the 13th most populous country in the world. It is expected
that in just 35 years, that figure will double.

"Its persistently high annual population growth of 2.36% impacts heavily on the government's capacity
to catch up with desired investments in human capital and physical infrastructure," says Susanne
Wendt, ADB Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development) who supervised the study. "It
reduces available financial resources and lessens women's opportunities to participate fully in the job
market."

In 2000, 4.3 million households or 26.5 million people, which is more than one third of the country's
population, were living below the poverty line.

The Philippines continues to have one of the highest maternal mortality rates (MMR: annual number of
deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes per 100,000 live births) in Southeast Asia. Its MMR of
172 in 1998 was about four times that of Thailand and about twice that of Viet Nam.

The country also has the second highest number of total births per year (1995-2000), four times that of
Malaysia and about twice that of Thailand. This is due to the lower contraceptive prevalence rate among
women, who do not control nor decide freely on matters relating to their fertility. This results in women
being vulnerable to health risks due to complications in pregnancy, and reduces job opportunities.

While the general population enjoyed a 95.1% rate in literacy in 2001, some regions still experience
gender disparities and low literacy rates. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao has the
country's lowest functional literacy rate for women and men, at 50% and 63%, respectively. The
education system has a rate of expansion that is lower than population growth, which has resulted in
poor teaching conditions, inadequate equipment, and poorly qualified teachers.

Violence against women is widespread in the Philippines, according to the study. This includes sexual
harassment in schools and at work, as well as human trafficking, forced prostitution, domestic violence,
and marital rape. In 2003, some 8,000 cases of violence against women were reported to the Philippine
National Police. But cases are often not reported. Violence against women causes severe health
problems, affects earnings, job performance, and job security. It is one of the factors that causes low
productivity among women and makes them vulnerable to poverty.

ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable
economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by
63 members - 45 from the region. In 2003, it approved loans and technical assistance amounting to
US$6.1 billion and US$177 million, respectively.

More at adb.org/media

http://www.adb.org/Documents/News/2004/nr2004090.asp

Women, War & Peace

War has always impacted men and women in different ways, but possibly never more so than in
contemporary conflicts. While women remain a minority of combatants and perpetrators of war, they
increasingly suffer the greatest harm.

In contemporary conflicts, as much as 90 percent of casualties are among civilians, most of whom are
women and children. Women in war-torn societies can face specific and devastating forms of sexual
violence, which are sometimes deployed systematically to achieve military or political objectives.
Women are the first to be affected by infrastructure breakdown, as they struggle to keep families
together and care for the wounded. And women may also be forced to turn to sexual exploitation in
order to survive and support their families.

Even after conflict has ended, the impacts of sexual violence persist, including unwanted pregnancies,
sexually transmitted infections and stigmatization. Widespread sexual violence itself may continue or
even increase in the aftermath of conflict, as a consequence of insecurity and impunity. Coupled with
discrimination and inequitable laws, sexual violence can prevent women from accessing education,
becoming financially independent and from participating in governance and peacebuilding.

Moreover, women continue to be poorly represented in formal peace processes, although they
contribute in many informal ways to conflict resolution. In recent peace negotiations, for which such
information is available, women have represented fewer than 8 percent of participants and fewer than 3
percent of signatories, and no woman has ever been appointed chief or lead mediator in UN-sponsored
peace talks. Such exclusion invariably leads to a failure to adequately address women͛s concerns, such
as sexual and gender-based violence, women͛s rights and post-conflict accountability.

United Nations Resolutions

However, the UN Security Council now recognizes that women͛s exclusion from peace processes
contravenes their rights, and that including women and gender perspectives in decision-making can
strengthen prospects for sustainable peace. This recognition was formalized in October 2000 with the
unanimous adoption of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The landmark resolution
specifically addresses the situation of women in armed conflict and calls for their participation at all
levels of decision-making on conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Since the agenda was set with the core principles of resolution 1325, three supporting resolutions have
been adopted by the Security Council Ͷ 1820, 1888 and 1889. The four resolutions focus on two key
goals:

à| ë    
  



 


Ͷ Resolution 1325 (2000) calls for
strengthening women͛s agency as peacemakers and peacebuilders, including their participation
in conflict prevention and peace processes, early recovery, governance and in peace operations.
Resolution 1889 (2009) complements 1325 by calling for the establishment of global indicators
to measure progress on its implementation.

à| 
  
  

Ͷ Resolution 1820 (2008) calls for an end to widespread
conflict-related sexual violence and for accountability in order to end impunity. Resolution 1888
(2009) focuses on strengthening leadership, expertise and other institutional capacities within
the United Nations and in member states to help put an end to conflict-related sexual violence.

Together, these resolutions provide a powerful framework and mandate for implementing and
measuring change in the lives of women in conflict-affected countries. A number of other thematic
resolutions, policies and legal instruments also overlap and complement this agenda.

UNIFEM͛s Approach

Since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325, UNIFEM͛s work on peace and security issues
has been driven by its goals. UNIFEM supports projects that focus on increasing women͛s participation
in decision-making, promoting the use of gender perspectives in policy development, strengthening the
protection of women affected by conflict, countering conflict-related sexual violence, amplifying calls for
accountability and advancing the status of women in post-conflict settings.

UNIFEM programming focuses on four key thematic areas:

http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/women_war_peace/

Peacebuilding
Today͛s conflicts are mostly civil wars fought in the world͛s poorest countries, where state capacity is
often weak. Civilians now account for the vast majority of casualties, and are in many cases deliberately
targeted by armed groups. Moreover, many countries recovering from conflict are at high risk of relapse
within the first five to ten years, because previous recovery processes have failed to address the root
causes of conflict and due to lack of effective institutions to provide security, good governance and core
services to citizens.

The United Nations has responded by expanding the scope and reach of international peace
interventions from traditional peacekeeping operations to more broad-based peacebuilding strategies.
Beyond monitoring ceasefire arrangements, these strategies aim to protect civilians under threat of
imminent violence, strengthen institutional capacity and establish the foundations for lasting peace.

Peacebuilding efforts vary from country to country, depending on specific circumstances and needs.
Peacekeeping missions can work to prevent and resolve conflicts before they begin. They facilitate
peace negotiations, which shape decisions on post-conflict recovery and governance, and work to
restore effective law and order. UN missions engage local actors in institutional reform and promote
national reconciliation.

Activities outside the traditional realm of peacekeeping can include disarmament, demobilization and
reintegration (DDR), security sector reform (SSR), protection of human rights and judicial reform, and
support in the implementation and monitoring of legitimate electoral processes. Prevention strategies
include the development of early warning indicators, which can signal that conflict is at risk of renewal.

Women and Peacebuilding

The importance of including women and gender perspectives in the planning and implementation of
peace operations is increasingly recognized. This has led to some milestone achievements, such as the
deployment of the first all-female peacekeeping unit in Liberia. However, many critical gaps remain,
both at the local and international level.

Women are still significantly underrepresented in most areas of UN peace operations, in peace
negotiations and in national governance, particularly at senior levels. Women͛s issues are often given
low priority and inadequate support. Attitudes towards women͛s participation in many countries and
organizations pose a significant barrier to progress. Moreover, policies frequently fail to translate into
operational targets and effective impact on the situation of women on the ground.

Nevertheless, peacebuilding offers important opportunities to support the advancement of gender


equality in conflict-affected countries. Accordingly, efforts must be made to ensure that all
peacebuilding strategies and activities consistently and effectively include women and gender
perspectives.

UNIFEM͛s Work

UNIFEM has been a key actor in promoting the role of women in peacemaking, peacekeeping and
peacebuilding efforts, as well as advocating for the active participation of women at all levels of
decision-making. This work builds largely on the resolutions of the UN Security Council on women, peace
and security. Some examples of UNIFEM͛s contributions include:

à| supporting women͛s involvement in peace negotiations, such as recently in mediation efforts to


end conflicts in , ë, and the  
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à| supporting initiatives aimed at strengthening the presence and capacity of female officers in
peace operations, such as in"
;

à| strengthening the development of gender-sensitive early warning strategies to prevent the


outbreak of conflict in # !
 and the ë   ;

à| advocating for women͛s inclusion in the design, implementation and conduct of post-conflict
elections in 
;

à| providing gender expertise in a variety of peace operations.

http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/women_war_peace/peacebuilding.php

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Posted By Janess Ann J. Ellao On April 25, 2009 @ 4:38 am In * Latest Posts,Top Stories | No Comments

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The Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act or Republic 9262 of 2004 was passed ͞to protect the
family and its members particularly women and children from violence and threats to their personal
safety and security͟. The intention of the law is to guarantee full respect for human rights of women and
children. Five years since it was passed, the women͛s group GABRIELA has been receiving an increasing
number of reports of violence and threats against women and children.

Alarmingly, the forms of violence, according to GABRIELA, have evolved and kept up with the times.
Cases of abuse and violence using modern technology, which was unimaginable five years ago, are now
increasing in frequency. .

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Last year, GABRIELA, a national alliance of women in the Philippines, documented 436 cases of violence
against women (VAW). Almost three-fourths of these were cases of domestic violence or wife abuse.
The records of GABRIELA reveal that for seven straight years, domestic violence topped the list of VAW
cases. It constituted 1,613 out of the 2,428 cases that were reported to GABRIELA.

͞ë     
        
,͟ (GABRIELA observed that cases of wife abuse or domestic violence are always an all-time high,
always topping the list.) said Jovita ͞Obet͟ Montes, director of Health and Services Department of
Gabriela.

GABRIELA also observed that for the past seven years, cases of rape seem to be increasing. Last year,
almost 10 percent of VAW cases reported to GABRIELA were cases of rape.

!
 
   "  

͞O  
      !        ",͟ (Last
year, GABRIELA noticed that increasingly rapists record their acts of abusing women on video.) Montes
said.

Montes also told Bulatlat that another emerging form of VAW is the video recording by the man of his
sexual exploits. Montes said it does not matter whether the woman-victim knows or not that the sexual
act is being video taped; it is still a violation of the woman͛s right and a form of violence being
committed against her.

͞#    $     %#    &͟


(Even if you know that the sexual act is being recorded but you do not have control over it because you
are under duress, then it would still constitute a violation of your right.)

Montes also shared that there were instances when the video recording of the sexual act is being used
against women who are trying to break up with their boyfriend or partner. Montes added that it is also
being used to extort money from the woman and her family.

͞' !("           


  $͟ (It is hard to overcome the effects of this type of violence committed against the
woman because the abuse is virtually being repeated several times over.)

Montes said that they were alarmed that most of the perpetrators were male college students since
they are the ones who have access to this kind of technology. ͞#         
               ()       
 ,͟ (It is alarming because it shows that women are still being viewed as sex
objects to be used and played around with.)

!


Montes told Bulatlat that most of the victims are hesistant to talk about what happened to them. ͞#
          &      ,͟ (They feel that it is better to
commit suicide to end all their sufferings.)
Through GABRIELA͛s counseling program, Montes said, most of the women-victims are recovering little
by little. She shared that she has a client who is now ready to go back to school after undergoing a
traumatic experience of being blackmailed by her boyfriend. Her former boyfriend extorted money not
only from her but from her whole family by threatening them that he would send the video recording of
their sex act to many people.

 
 1


Montes said that as far as she knows, there are existing laws that victims could use to protect
themselves and run after the perpetrators. But there is still no law dealing specifically with this form of
abuse.

Montes added that as of this moment, justice has not yet been served for women victims who filed
cases under the five-year-old Anti-Violence Against Women and Children law. Aside from the fact that
the law is relatively new, Montes said, the slow grind of the judicial process in the Philippines has been
to the disadvantage of women-victims. It usually takes three to four years to litigate a case in the
Philippines.

''   '(

Montes said that the Gabriela Women͛s Party (GWP) is planning to pass a bill that specifically addresses
the use of technology to commit VAW.

In the meantime, GABRIELA, in line with its 25th anniversary, launched its I Vow Versus VAW campaign
last March 22 during the birthday celebration of actress Angel Locsin, who has served as their
spokesperson against VAW for the past few years.

͞It͛s a campaign to commit one͛s self in the struggle to eradicate violence against women,͟ Montes said.

Montes said that the I Vow Versus VAW is part of their information awareness campaign targeting
communities nationwide. It aims not only to encourage women to report cases of violence committed
against them but to also report VAW cases where victims chose to endure their sufferings in
silence.!   %"*+,

Article printed from Bulatlat:  $%%&!   &%




URL to article:  $%%&!   &%


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[1] (Bulatlat.com):  $%%&!   &%


Tom: Awareness needed on STD in call centers

 7 !
&!
Cebu Daily NewsFirst Posted 06:16:00 02/05/2010Filed Under: Diseases, Health

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CEBU CITY Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday downplayed results of a 2009 survey that showed that
many workers of call centers in Cebu and Metro Manila engaged in ͞risky͟ behavior in terms of
contracting and passing on sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including the virus that causes AIDS.

This includes having unprotected sex, premarital sex and casual sex.

Osmeña said that while the survey did not alarm him, he worried that such reports may discourage
people from joining call centers.

͞There should be awareness here. But let͛s put things in perspective: it has not gone out of control,͟ he
said.

He encouraged better awareness and education.

The study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute surveyed lifestyle and reproductive
health issues of 929 young professionals, including 675 call center workers in Cebu and Manila.

Osmeña said getting STDs has nothing to do with being a call center agent but that the higher-than-
average lifestyle of a well-paid call center agent enables some to become ͞reckless.͟

The mayor noted that most call center agents receive at least P15,000 per month, which is more than
twice the minimum wage.

The UP study noted that three out of four call center workers engaged in premarital sex, compared with
two out of three for non-call center workers. However, the study cautioned that ͞we cannot conclude
that the higher prevalence of risk behaviors among call center workers can be attributed to work in the
call center. There could be a selective bias, such as those who enter call center work already exhibit
higher risky behavior.

The average age of call center agents who were interviewed was 23.

͞There is evidence that risky behaviors are now highly prevalent in that age group,͟ said the study.

Department of Health (DOH) statistics showed 96 recorded HIV cases in Cebu City from 1989 to January
this year. Of that number, ͞most͟ were call center agents, and 65 were male.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/news/view/20100205-251390/Tom-Awareness-needed-
on-STD-in-call-centers