International Women’s Day

Every 8th of March, we reflect on the victories we have had, and the road ahead for women empowerment and gender equality.

This year, with Spark Philippines, the Philippine Commission on Women and different Embassies, I sat among strong, brave, compassionate and intelligent women, Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Miss Universe Philippines Runner Up, Michelle Gumabao, Social Entrepreneur and Designer, Zarah Juan, Interior Designer and Painter, Kim Lim, Atty. Lesley Cordero of the World Bank among others (with no less than Korina Sanchez as moderator!) talking about #Women2021 – what happened to the women during the pandemic, looking back and moving forward.

The virus has deepened pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.

For example, our emergency hotline used to get an average of 5 calls of VAWC complaints per week. Now, it is averaging 12+ calls per week, and the lockdown has forced victims to stay at home with their abusers.

Studies have also shown that it is the women badly hit by the unemployment caused by Covid-19. Sure, men and women alike have both been affected, but it has shown that more men have kept their jobs and more women have been rendered jobless and out of the labor force. Many women, mothers, have also opted to let go of their jobs due to the need to supervise children at home, especially with the children’s online schooling.

In this forum, we spoke of the many challenges women had to face during this pandemic, the situations we were forced to deal with, and the little wins and gains we have had as women. Oh, and how we rise above.

#Women2021 has reminded many of us that while it has been a rough time for everyone, we are tougher, stronger, and more than capable to be a blessing to other people in our community.