Thursday, January 30, 2014

Influential Women in the Philippines

The role of women in the Philippines is explained based on the context of Filipino culture, standards, and mindsets. The Philippines is described to be a nation of strong women, who directly and indirectly run the family unit, businesses, government agencies and haciendas. Although they generally define themselves in the milieu of a masculine dominated post-colonial Asian Catholic society, Filipino women live in a culture that is focused on the community, with the family as the main unit of society. It is in this framework of Philippine hierarchical structure, class differences, religious justifications, and living in a globally developing nation wherein Filipino women struggle for respect. Compared to other parts of Southeast Asia, women in Philippine society have always enjoyed a greater share of legal equality.

Filipino women and Philippine Politics - Despite the introduction of an American-based school system and the transformation of Filipino women into educated and professional members of Philippine society, their participation in Philippine politics was slow. This was primarily because engagement in politics is considered "dirty," and due to the traditional concept that holds that women cannot take positions higher than their husbands. But this idea introduced by colonization that Filipino women historically and traditionally belonged in the home, the church, or the convent, is also changing. A recent study revealed that there is a re-emergence of the empowerment of Filipino women through the political process, just as they were prior to the arrival of the ancient conquerors from Spain. Philippine women are rediscovering their strengths "even if they are not [directly engaged] in the electoral process." Filipino women had been successful in implementing policies by becoming executive staff members, advisers to politicians, and as advocates within non-governmental organizations.

Modern-day Filipinas are making strides in electoral politics by initiating more female-oriented programs. They are performing well as leaders, although generally, Filipino women still often earn political seats by having fathers and husbands who are politically connected, a "dynasty system" that hinders other Filipino women from joining the electoral process. Other factors that prevent full-engagement of other well-qualified Filipinas from the Philippine political scene are the expense in politics and the importance of the family name. Participation of Filipino women in Philippine politics was encouraged during the Beijing Declaration in 1995 at the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women. In February 2005, however, a United Nations review on the progress of Philippine women and their role in politics revealed that despite "an increase in the quality of female politicians, there was not enough increase in" the number of women participants in government activities. From 1992 to 2001, Filipino women had been elected as local chief executives, functioning as mayors, governors, and captains of villages. One influential factor contributing to the increasing number of female politicians, is the elevation of Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Philippine women Presidents.

Contributions to Philippine Society - Promotion of a female-inclined agenda that is beneficial to the whole of Filipino society - instead of being "specifically geared toward the well-being of Filipino women" - had been the priority of female leaders. These empowered women focused on the needs of their constituents in general, including agricultural and employment issues. In particular, they created child-friendly communities that are equipped with adequate daycare facilities and nutritional provisions. They established provincial offices for women and raised funding for these projects. At the national level of Philippine society, women leaders made progressive changes which benefited Philippine women. Corazon Aquino's 1987 executive order, known as the Family Code. Aquino's Family Code "eliminated gender bias in adultery cases and introduced annulment into a country that did not permit civil divorces." Another code in 1991 suggested the creation of "sectoral representation in local councils" and the "creation of special seats" such as a representative for women and a representative for workers. However, despite of a non-implementation setback of this 1991 code, a 1992 bill was passed that allowed women to enter military academies and other male-dominated organizations. The 1992 bill also enabled Filipino women to establish credit and own land without the consent of a father or husband. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)


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