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Editorial | Women and men as equal partners

The entire month of March is dedicated to the great strides by women in claiming half the sky. We take the liberty of printing excerpts of the Privilege Speech of Councilor Pilar Braga on Tuesday’s council session on the continuing challenge of women today.

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

Fifty years ago, we landed on the moon; in the last decade, we discovered new human ancestors and photographed a black hole for the first time.

In the meantime, legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from accessing the same choice of jobs as men. Less than 25 per cent of parliamentarians were women, as of 2019. One in three women experience gender-based violence, still.

Change is not only about big headline moments, legal victories and international agreements: the way we talk, think, and act every day can create a ripple effect that benefits everyone.

The emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world.
Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality.

Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture. Women and girls continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. Furthermore, there is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won feminist gains.

The year 2020 represents a great opportunity to mobilize global action to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls.

We have achieved victories in the fight for gender equality but there is more work to be done. The Women’s Development Code of Davao City is the first of its kind in the country. We were the first city to have an Integrated Gender and Development Desk in the country. We must continue to work towards levelling the playing field by increasing the meaningful participation of women in leadership roles and spheres of policy and decision-making.

We must also work on ensuring that men accept women as equal partners. The great work that many women have done can only be meaningful if we ensure that the future generation continues to pave the way for more women to work hand-in-hand, side-by-side with men.

Let’s make 2020 count for women and girls everywhere.”

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