PCW calls for gender equality amid VAW cases

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Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is advocating for gender equality and women empowerment among all sectors of the society amid reported cases of violence against women (VAW).

PCW Information Officer Nevicshky Calma underscored that all forms of discrimination against women must be removed to make sure that they have equal rights and opportunities with men.

“PCW believes that the advocacy for gender equality is not just only for women, and should not only be done by women. This is for everybody. Every one of us has a role to play in the advocacy for gender equality,” she said.

Reports from PCW showed that Central Luzon ranks 4th among all regions with the highest VAW incidents.

This is despite the observed decline of 27.2 percent from the 21,366 VAW cases in 2019, to 15,553 cases in 2020 recorded by the Philippine National Police.

However, Calma clarified that some VAW cases in the region remain unreported, owing to the lockdown restrictions which made the process of reporting more difficult for the victims.

“We have seen that probably, cases are like this because other women are not given the chance to report because during the early period of the quarantine, their movement is restricted. They are unable to go to the barangay VAW desks, and are not given the chance to communicate outside because they are locked down with their perpetrators,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said that the 911 national emergency hotline remains open so that victims of violence could seek help and guidance, and avail the referral services so that survivors could be brought to the right agencies.

With this, PCW highlighted that government agencies and institutions must practice gender mainstreaming by integrating gender in all of their programs, projects, and activities.

“All concerns and needs of women should be considered in all programs and projects… Of course, the government agencies are given the gender and development budget that is why they should allocate significant projects for women,” Calma furthered.

The officer said local government units should also focus on the full implementation of the Magna Carta of Women; and make sure that no discrimination is being experienced by women by ensuring the proper reinforcement of the law down to the grassroots level.

Apart from these, Calma emphasized that the academe could also help in the advocacy by making sure that the education system teaches the importance of gender equality.

She also urged males to be male champions of the advocacy and practice positive masculinity instead of toxic masculinity, and end the toxic macho culture. 

Lastly, she said that members of the LGBTQIA+ community should continue embracing their sexuality and be part of pushing for gender equality.