Wonders for women

WE HA​D​ every intention to catch ​the movie “​Wonder Woman​”​ in the cinema last week. Not that I am a fan​,​ but we want our daughter to have her first cinema experience. She is fond of Wonder Woman and she hopes to become like her.

I also appreciate women super heroes gifted with super powers to fight evil​,​ but I never mistook it for a feminist manifesto.

Though, the inner child in me hopes that every woman can be a wonder as Wonder Woman and not just be treated as sex symbols, toys, slaves or lesser individuals.

Everyday, we read reports about violence committed against women. For many of us​,​ reports about women abused and ​discriminated are no longer considered “hot news.”

Violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world. In fact, worldwide, it is said that 16 percent of the total population of women are raped once in their lifetime.

Data from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) revealed that it is estimated that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

Some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

In the United States, women are being physically abused by their husbands every nine seconds.

In the Middle East, husbands are oftentimes exonerated from killing an unfaithful, disobedient or willful wife.

In Asia and North Africa, about 60 million women, who should be alive​,​ are missing from the population statistics.

In India, one woman dies every hour in dowry-related crimes.

Back in early 90s, India introduced the 73rd and 74th amendment to the Indian Constitution, which gave grassroots women the power to change their plights by reserving 33.3 percent of the seats for them in the municipality and village councils.

The amendments change the nature of women’s participation in democratic institutions in India – from ordinary people who cast their votes under the pleasure of their husbands, they are now allowed to hold government positions and file bills and resolutions that would alleviate their living conditions.

However, despite the amendment, ​the ​situation of Indian women have worsened. As of year 2016, 8,000 Indian women a year are still murdered because their in-laws consider their dowries inadequate.

Here in the Philippines, Filipino women are luckier, for we are not just educated of our rights but we were given opportunities to exercise it.

Filipino women’s right and access to education, I believe​,​ is the critical lever for change that leads to the current stature that we are enjoying right now.

Information is power. People can only act on what is known to them.

Filipino women were also able to harness the power of information in furthering the women’s movements with greater scope and impact.

Because of education, Filipino women now have increased representation in all branches of government and public offices that somehow increased the responsiveness in gender issues.

On top of that, the democratic type of government we are enjoying enables feminist groups to be more vocal and vibrant on issues affecting Filipino women, attracting more public attention.

If only we can inculcate our discipline, culture, will and determination to other women of the world to free them of the shackles of the patriarchal society.

For now we can only pray and dream wonders for women who have remained ​”right-less” worldwide.​

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