Gender Equality

by erika

Note: I visited my old blog and was surprised to find this passionately written post on gender equality.  I admire the person who wrote this almost six years ago. Where did you go? This seemed ages ago.

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Oct. 28, 2006

At one point in our public administration class, I snapped out of my drowsiness when our professor said, “They always ask for the gender aspect of our programs,” then she rolled her eyes upward in exasperation.

Apparently, she was discussing the United Nations Development Program where gender equality has become a necessary measure for the quality of life or human development index of a country.

I took the class as elective because I want to know more about the bureaucracy. It would be helpful for my journalistic career. But I was taken aback that a supposedly progressive university would have a professor with a mindset like that. It’s no wonder bureaucratic service is so frustrating.

I couldn’t let it slip. I asked, “Ma’am, do you think there’s no gender problem in the Philippines?” She didn’t answer equivocally but it’s obvious that she thinks so.

I could forgive her boring way of teaching but not the indifferent way with which she dismissed a critical issue of oppression.

Just because we see so many female broadcasters, it doesn’t mean that women are equally involved in newsroom decision-making.

Just because there are female CEOs, it doesn’t mean that work conditions for women are suitable.

Just because we’ve had two female presidents it doesn’t mean that the state of women in general is better off. The current president leaves much to be desired when it comes to the welfare of women, or leaves much to be desired, period.

As the foremost caretaker of a country, the government has the primary role of ensuring better lives for its constituents. And yes, it includes gender equality.

Last June, the gender balance act of 2006 or House Bill 5496 was filed by Akbayan representatives, Ana Theresa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Loretta Ann Rosales, and Mario Aguja.

The bill proposes that 30 percent of all positions in the bureaucracy, military, police, government-owned and controlled corporations and other agencies be allotted to women starting next year.

The proponents regard having a gender quota in government as a significant step “to fast track meaningful and relevant political participation for women” while also recognizing the importance of developing the “quality” of women who sit in government.

If this pursues, they really have to emphasize on the quality. Because as a professor or a president proved, being a woman does not automatically make you sensitive to other women’s plight.