In the Philippines, March is widely recognized as Women's Month, a time to honor and appreciate the significant contributions made by women to society. This month-long celebration aims to raise awareness about women's struggles for gender equality and their rights.
The observance of Women's Month in the Philippines began in 1988 by virtue of Proclamation No. 224 proclaiming the first week of March as Women's Week. This was later expanded to the entire month to promote women's empowerment and gender equality.
The 2023 National Women's Month Celebration is a significant milestone in the progress of women's rights, as it introduces a new recurring theme for the next six years, until 2028: WE for gender equality and an inclusive society.
The theme is also aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028, which aims for “deep economic and social transformation to reinvigorate job creation and accelerate poverty reduction by steering the economy back on a high-growth path.” PDP also highlights that growth must be inclusive, building an environment that provides equal opportunities to all Filipinos and equipping them with skills to participate fully in an innovative and globally competitive economy.
There are several events and activities throughout the month promoting women's empowerment, such as webinars and forums, arts and cultural exhibits, and health and wellness fairs. There are also some establishments offering promos and discounts for women.
Throughout the nationwide observance, the events and activities are held to acknowledge women's achievements and to promote women's causes. Spearheaded by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), women's groups, NGOs, and government agencies play an active role in organizing and promoting these events.
For this year, PCW encourages the public, not just women to wear purple every Wednesday for the whole month of March. They can post their photos online using the hashtags #PurpleWednesdays, #WEcanbeEquALL and #NWMC2023.
Women's Month in the Philippines is a vital time to celebrate women's achievements while acknowledging the challenges they continue to face in achieving gender equality. It is an opportunity for individuals and organizations to unite and work towards creating a more just and equal society for all. (PIA-NCR)