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Ending Violence Against Women with  18 Days of Activism by the Zonta Club 

THE ZONTA Club of Club II together with the City of Mandaue and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City set in motion the 18 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women last November to December 2021.

Hundreds of women participated in the cause by attending various online and physical events to celebrate the club’s 30th year of observing the 18 days campaign. Curated activities focused on the theme, “A VAW Free Mandaue Starts with Me”.

Virtual Walk For Women

Around 600 participants joined the Zonta Club of Cebu II’s first ever virtual Walk For Women last November 25 to December 12 to celebrate women’s equality, dignity, and rights. The club has been a game-changer for thinking of innovative ways to extend its reach to different communities in order to support more women. This unique activity allowed people to take part anywhere and anytime around the world.
Members and non-members alike such as NGO volunteers, Mandaue City officials, individuals from the LGBTQ sector, and many more joined the advocacy walk to reach a common goal together – not just for health and wellness, but more importantly to “Create Safe Spaces for Everyone”.

Each distance was dedicated to a specific cause:

  • 3KM to Say NO to Teenage Pregnancy
  • 5KM to End Child Marriage
  • 10KM to Break the Chain of Inequality & Abuse
  • 15KM to Stand Up Against Trafficking of Women & Children
  • 21KM to Say NO to Violence Against Women

Audio Visual Competition

The club together with the City Government of Mandaue sponsored an Audio-Visual Competition with the theme focused on an advocacy song entitled, ‘The Time Is Now – Women Unite!’ and The Perils of Teenage Pregnancy.

The National Photo Competition

“Women at the Core of the Pandemic: Celebrating Their Resilience and Strength” was the  theme of the nationwide photo competition that was organized by the club. With almost 150 submissions, the photographs were featured on social media for a People’s Choice category contest. The entries were also judged by a panel of respected photographers & women advocates based on the originality, thematic integrity, technical excellence, and artistic merit of each photo.

Advocacy Webinar Series

A wave of informative webinars was hosted by the club to highlight critical and relevant issues that women continue to encounter. The discussions were led by respectable and renowned women from different industries. Each of them was able to bring knowledgeable matters and possible ways for people to support women in need. Relevant topics covered by the online sessions:

  • Dissecting the “Girls Not Brides” Law

Resource speaker Attorney Mylen Gonzales-Esquivel from the Children’s Legal Bureau led a very engaging discussion on the youth’s importance in nation-building while pointing out how our country’s constitution lacked support to specifically address the issue of early marriage, resulting in the Philippines having the 12th highest absolute number of child brides in the world.

The talk uncovered how there is a need to push The Girls not Brides Bill into law since Child Marriage violates human rights. The audience was encouraged to support the bill and the victims by reporting crimes.

What Does Misogyny Look Like, And Why Should We Care?

Facilitated by Dr. Marie Aubrey Villaceran, the discussion focused on how women continuously experience Discrimination, Exploitation, Marginalization, Oppression, and Subordination (DEMOS) and how international organizations are actively coming together to put an end to it. The Gender and Development Program which seeks to achieve gender equality and transform society’s social, economic, and political structures was also presented.

The talk taught people about gender identity and roles. They learned how the country has efforts and programs in place that can help achieve gender equality in society.

  • AIDS & COVID-19: Pandemics that Crushed the World 

In observance of World AIDS Day last December 1, this continuing health problem was at the forefront of the discussion led by National Youth Commissioner Percival Cendana, Dr. Brian Lim, and Dr. Helen Madamba. They also covered the problems and possible solutions of the disease and urged participants to offer acceptance and support for people going through AIDS.

The speakers emphasized the need of staying vigilant when dealing with the disease, attendees learned how it can affect the body too. The discussion also gave guidance on how to disclose having the disease to your loved ones.

  • The Perils of Teenage Pregnancy | What’s the Rush? Don’t be a Teen Parent

Teenage Pregnancy is one of the most pressing issues that the Filipino youth face today according to the discussion led by Dr. Renna de Leon and Dr. Pureza Onate. At least 10 million (10M) unintended teenage pregnancies happen in our country. They emphasized how this national problem can be resolved through educating, empowering, and respecting teenagers.

The discussion led the audience to realize that reducing early childbearing is crucial to addressing the country’s issues such as poverty, healthcare, nutrition, equity, and education.

  • A Cry for Help Examining the Length and Breadth of Human Trafficking

International Justice Mission (IJM), Atty. Elaine Bathan, Atty. Therese Mina-Salomon, and Ms. Joanna Eleccion gave light to the relevant realities of human trafficking today in time for International Day Against Trafficking last December 12. It was also the last webinar to complete the series focused on women’s issues. Discussed were the how’s and why’s of understanding human trafficking, protecting children away from online exploitation, and providing survivors with the tools to continue a life worth living in society.

The key message of the talk was to let the audience identify what human trafficking is, be aware of the current exploitation situations, and how supporting victims is done through programs that reintegrate them back into the community. PR


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