Women power

Really, if you need something spoken, ask a man. If you need something done, ask a woman.
Women power

There is a common joke about women holding power over household finances, often made by husbands who have willingly or reluctantly ceded control of the purse strings to their wives. The joke is based on the idea that women are better at managing money or tend to be more frugal. However, it can also be seen as a reflection of gender dynamics in relationships, where one partner may hold more power or influence than the other.

The traditional norms regarding sovereignty over the purse in Filipino couples, whether married or not, still exist. However, men have taken steps towards equality by challenging and modifying the arrangement, especially as women have started breaking the glass ceiling and entering the labor market.

In 1948, women’s rights activists brought attention to gender equality, leading the United Nations General Assembly to use the phrase in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, marking a significant step towards empowering women.

Women have a lot of power, and sometimes they like to show it off. Men are often surprised to see women taking over their jobs and positions. Filipino women, in particular, have become very successful in the economic and political arenas. They have produced two women presidents — Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — which is quite impressive considering that many other countries have never had a female president.

With state-funded education and even post-graduate studies, Filipino women have better access to learning that empowers them to become better wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, relatives, friends, and workers, all in one. They are unselfish, willing to sacrifice for others, even putting off marriage until they have sent their siblings to school or waiting patiently for their wayward husbands to change. Although there may be exceptions, let us focus on celebrating the Filipina spirit.

I have no hesitation in expressing my admiration for women. They hold a special place in my heart as a man, starting from my mother who gave birth to me, my kind grandmother who helped raise me, my beloved wife and two daughters who bless me with unconditional love and happiness, as well as all the women in relatives, friends, colleagues, and neighbors who have positively impacted my life and helped me become a better person.

On 8 March 2023, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I’d like to honor and acknowledge the Filipino women who have made significant strides for the betterment of their families, communities, and economy. I also want to recognize those who may not have achieved these accomplishments but tried nonetheless. It’s important to acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to keep striving toward their goals.

The theme for this year’s Women’s Day celebration, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” is a call for all corporations and governments around the world to address gender inequalities, which is considered the greatest challenge to human rights. The Philippines is among the most gender-equal nations in Asia, ranking 16th out of 146 countries in the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index report by the World Economic Forum, achieving a 79.1 percent gender parity.

I take my hat off to all mothers who raised productive and wonderful human beings, the Philippine Commission on Women for promoting gender equality and women’s rights, and feminist change-makers and women’s groups like the KALIPI-Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina Nasyonal Federation led by Ma. Socorro “Coycoy” Alfafara, or Mommy Coycoy to friends and acquaintances. She leads the KALIPI Federation which provides livelihood and skills training for business and employment. I admire this group, and I am confident that they are overseeing the implementation and compliance with Republic Act 9710, also known as the Magna Carta of Women, a comprehensive women’s human rights legislation aimed at eliminating discrimination.

Really, if you need something spoken, ask a man. If you need something done, ask a woman. Before chauvinists gang up on me, I did not say this. This quote is from Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister and known in history as the “Iron Lady.”


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