Filipino women are progressively breaking down barriers and assuming leadership roles as public officials in a variety of disciplines and making substantial contributions to society.
Being at the forefront of driving change and leading development—from government officials to community leaders—women involved in governance offer a distinct viewpoint to the table and frequently bat for measures that promote gender equality and social justice.
They have also played an important role in advocating for the rights of marginalized people, advocating for legislation that address gender-based violence, and spearheading initiatives to increase access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.
In recent years, there has been a notable increase in women taking on leadership positions in government. In the Philippines, for example, a growing number of women are serving in high-ranking positions, including as senators, congressional representatives, and mayors of cities and towns.
One such example is Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval, who has been a fierce advocate for women's rights and empowerment, and has pushed for policies that promote gender equality and social justice. She has also been active in leading efforts to address issues such as poverty and inequality in the northern metro city.
In her State of the City Address, Mayor Jeannie outlined her plans and accomplishments for the city in the past year. Her speech highlighted the progress that Malabon has made under her leadership, as well as the challenges that the city is still facing.
Being the first ever woman mayor of Malabon City, Sandoval spoke about the various programs and initiatives that her administration has implemented to improve the lives of city residents. She emphasized the importance of investing in education, healthcare, and social services, and noted that her administration has launched several programs to support these areas.
One of the key priorities of her administration is improving the city's healthcare infrastructure. She announced that several new health centers have been built in the past year, providing better access to healthcare services for the city's residents. She also noted that the city has launched mobile clinics to provide medical care to those in remote areas, and that free medicines are now available to the poor.
Mayor Sandoval also highlighted the improvements that have been made in the city's education system. She noted that new classrooms have been built and that the city is providing free school supplies and uniforms to students. She also announced the launch of several scholarship programs to support underprivileged students in pursuing their education.
In addition to these efforts, Mayor Sandoval spoke about her administration's focus on promoting economic growth and job creation in the city. She noted that several new businesses have opened in Malabon in the past year, creating new employment opportunities for residents.
Despite these achievements, Mayor Sandoval acknowledged that there are still challenges that the city is facing. She noted that Malabon City is still vulnerable to flooding during the rainy season, and that efforts to improve the city's drainage and flood control systems are ongoing. She also spoke about the need to address the issue of informal settlements in the city, and the importance of providing decent housing for all residents.
She also emphasized the importance of community engagement and collaboration, emphasizing that her administration has been working closely with community organizations and stakeholders to ensure that the needs and concerns of Malabon's residents are heard and addressed.
In addition to women in the local government, there are also many women who serve as community leaders and public servants in various fields. From educators and healthcare professionals to social workers and activists, women are playing a critical role in driving change and progress in their communities.
The 2023 National Women’s Month Celebration marks a juncture in the advancement of women’s rights as it launches a new recurring theme from this year to 2028: WE for gender equality and inclusive society. It sparks a renewed commitment to the advocacy and banks on the gains achieved during the 2016-2022 theme, WE Make CHANGE Work for Women, which emphasized the need for compassionate and harmonized networks towards gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).
The recurring theme also aligns with the Philippine Development Plan 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.” The plan 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.
We begin this new era of the National Women’s Month Celebration with the hope and ambition that WE are all for Gender Equality, WE are all for an inclusive society, the Philippine Commission on Women said. (PIA-NCR)
(Photos courtesy: Mayor Jeannie Sandoval FB page and Philippine Commisison on Women)