A Liberal Party Agenda for Women

Article excerpt

THE LP consultation for LP women leaders and members which is being held today gives this as rationale: As in many places in the world, the women comprise 50 percent of the population. Yet the recognition of this sector's role in society is yet timidly extended. The workshop will also prepare a framework for a Party Agenda for Women in Politics. This is towards advancing the liberal social agenda that includes a concrete program that would work towards full participation of the women sector in national life.

The LP, one of the oldest political parties, now claims to have the highest percentage of its elected officials - roughly 25 percent of all its elected incumbents or 366 out of 1,444 at various levels of government.

The status report on Filipino Women in Politics and Governance (excerpt from the NDO Report on the Year 3 Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action submitted to the Philippine Government and the UN Commission on the Status of Women) in 1999, stated that in general, women enjoy equal rights in terms of participation in political and public life. But the reality does not reflect this as women themselves are generally adverse to politics which is generally perceived as "dirty" and basically a man's domain. Even then, women represent a strong voting force as 50.3 percent voted in 1995. I am sure that the percentage had increased in subsequent elections as the latest statistics showed an increase in the number of women in both elective and non-elective positions in government. Today, there are four women senators (same as 1999) but there has been an increase to 37 from the 21 in 1999. There are more women in the Cabinet today - 9 before 3 from the Hyatt 10 resigned. 26 percent of the total number of judges consists of women as compared with 15.3 percent in 1999. There are 5 out of 15 Supreme Court justices compared with only one in 1999.

At the community level, the position of women is also subordinate as leadership in most of these organizations is in the hands of men.

The Women's Electoral Agenda of 1998 prepared by 14 women's organizations provides a comprehensive list of nine major concerns. They are: Macroeconomic policies (includes repeal of PD 1177 which appropriates funds for debt service; abolish pork barrel); food security and livelihood (stop conversion of prime agricultural lands into industrial sites; provide 25 percent of credit to women farmers); employment, jobs and fair wages (guidelines on contractualization, social security benefits of workers and minimum labor standards); social services, housing and water (moratorium to demolition of urban poor communities, programs on adequate housing, employment, infrastructure); migration and women (amending RA 8042 towards free legal assistance, repatriation, and sensitive response to women in distress, regulate overseas employment and monitor recruitment agencies; environment (total log ban; revoke Mining Act, regulate quarrying activities; Clean Air support); prostitution and trafficking in women (institutionalize body to monitor bride trade; policy to control levels of tourism); reproductive and sexual rights (comprehensive women's health program, ban clinical contraceptive trials); and political participation (more women in toplevel positions in monetary positions; policy to redress marked discrepancy in number of women and men in top-level positions. …