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Women empowerment: Celebrating the gains of women

Women in purple shirts waved their purple balloons during the early morning walk from Freedom Park, Roxas Avenue to Rizal Park to celebrate the 114th International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8. More than 7,000 women leaders, government employees, civil society members, and women rights advocates participated in the annual event.

More than 7,000 women leaders, government employees, civil society and women rights advocates marched early morning on Friday, March 8, to celebrate the 114th International Women’s Day. This event was organized by the Integrated Gender and Development Division of the city.

The women wore all shades of purple as they marched from Freedom Park in Roxas Avenue to Rizal Park, City Hall grounds where a brief program was held..

Councilor Trisha Ann Villafuerte, committee chair on women, children and family relations, said the annual event is to celebrate the significant role of women and advance their rights and interests especially because they represent 50 percent of the population..

“Women have shown remarkable strength and perseverance to pursue equality, justice and empowerment, as we commemorate, let us draw inspiration from the strength, resilience and determination of the women in our community,” Villafuerte said.

She added that the strength of women today will build a better future for the next generation as it paves the way for opportunities by breaking the glass ceiling.

Patricia Melliza Bello Ruivivar, one of the pillars of the Women Development Code that won for the city the Galing Pook Award, recognized that despite legislations for women, the sector still lacks recognition, the reason for the annual celebration.

“We march every women’s day to remind the world that women’s rights are human rights that need not be questioned,” Ruivivar said in her keynote speech.

The International Women’s Day celebration, she said, is to enhance the sector’s visibility in society, and the need for equality among men and women.

Men who joined the parade were also lauded for walking beside women as the movement is not only a concern of women but of men, as well.

Women’s movement, she added, is the only revolution that changed society, as there was no need for bloodshed and disorder to attain rights and programs for women. “Women serve as inspiration that change can be done in the society, peacefully,” she added.

Ruivivar was a member of the technical working group that drafted the Women Development Code of 1997 and the first to head the Integrated Gender and Development Division where the city was recognized as Galing Pook awardee.

The Women Development Code of the city was the model of national laws of the country including but not limited to Anti-Trafficking law, and Violence against Women and Children act.

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 6.and gives focus to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women..

VAW tracking system (VTS) launched

Meanwhile, IGDD launched a tracking system for violence against women in the city, in time for the 114th International Women’s Day celebration.

IGDD head Lorna Mandin said the web–based system will serve as a data bank to keep track of the cases of clients and services they need.

“We cannot easily get exact [number] of the cases, but with this system, the cases will be unified and will prevent redundancy,” Mandin said in a sideline interview after the morning walk in Rizal Park.

The digital record features a color coding scheme to indicate the service the client needs, may it be legal or psychosocial. It also features a hotline where women who experience violence can report via call.

It will also show a timeline on the speed of response of concerned agencies to strengthen the service delivery, allowing inter-agency coordination from the IGDD, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Philippine National Police and the barangay level.

The number of cases can be viewed by the public in the dashboard, however, specifics of the case are kept confidential for the benefit of the clients.

Mandin said data migration is underway as the system has been operational since January, this year.



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