Women’s Month celebration is a time to honor the contributions of women in society and to recognize the challenges they face. Women have played important roles in shaping history and advancing human rights, but they continue to be underrepresented in many areas, including politics.
Today, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day, a global observance that recognizes the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It also serves as a call to action for gender equality and women’s rights. The focus of International Women’s Day 2023 is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” according to UN Women.
The world observes 2023 to acknowledge women and girls who promote technology and digital education. IWD 2023 focuses on addressing the digital gender gap’s impact on economic and social inequalities and protecting women’s rights in digital spaces.
In the Philippines, party-list representatives are elected through a proportional representation system. The party-list system aims to give voice to marginalized sectors that may not be represented by traditional political parties. Each party-list organization must secure at least 2% of the total votes cast in order to secure a seat in the House of Representatives.
In the second part of our Empowering Voices special feature series, we train our sights on the 10 women party-list representatives of the 19th Congress, who are working to advocate for the rights of women and other marginalized groups in the Philippines.
The 10 women party-list representatives of the 19th Congress are Claudine Diana D. Bautista-Lim of Dumper Philippines Taxi Drivers Association, Arlene D. Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Party, France L. Castro of Act Teachers Party-List, Angelica Natasha Co of Barangay Health Wellness Party, Bernadette “BH” Herrera of BH Bagong Henerasyon, Yedda Marie K. Romualdez of Tingog Sinirangan, Irene Gay F. Saulog of Kalinga-Advocacy for Social Empowerment and Nation-Building Through Easing Poverty, Shernee A. Tan-Tambut of Kusug Tausug, Jocelyn P. Tulfo of Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support, and Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez of Alliance Of Organizations, Networks & Associations of the Philippines, Inc. Each of these women comes from a unique background and advocates for different causes, but they are united in their commitment to creating a more equitable society.
These women party-list representatives have made significant contributions to society through their advocacy work and their legislative initiatives. For example, Arlene Brosas authored a bill that seeks to provide free legal assistance to victims of gender-based violence, while France Castro has pushed for legislation that would increase teachers’ salaries and benefits. Angelica Natasha Co has raised awareness about the importance of mental health, while Bernadette “BH” Herrera has championed the rights of micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez has been instrumental in securing disaster relief for her constituents in Eastern Visayas, while Shernee A. Tan-Tambut has worked to protect the rights of Muslim women in the BARMM. These are just a few examples of the many accomplishments of these women party-list representatives.
Women in politics face a number of challenges, including discrimination, gender bias, and sexism. However, the women party-list representatives of the 19th Congress have shown resilience in the face of these challenges. For example, they have formed alliances with other women legislators to push for gender-responsive policies, and they have worked to raise awareness about the importance of women’s representation in politics. They have also served as role models for other women who aspire to enter politics.
The women party-list representatives of the 19th Congress are making important contributions to society and advancing the cause of gender equality in the Philippines. However, much work remains to be done to ensure that women have equal representation in politics and that their rights are protected. We can all play a role in supporting women candidates and advocating for policies that promote gender equality.