The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the lead agency that makes government work for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of women’s human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, congratulates Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo for winning a seat in the United Nation’s (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) during the elections held at the UN Headquarters in New York.
On June 22, 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that Ambassador Manalo won, for the third time, a seat in this UN expert’s body for the term 2017-2020. She was one of the 25 candidates who vied for one of the 11 seats to be vacated by the end of 2016. Other women's rights experts who won seats are from Bahamas, China, France, Ghana, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mauritania, Nepal, Nigeria, and Norway.
“Aside from being an accomplished diplomat, Ambassador Manalo has long been a champion of women’s human rights in the Philippines and in the global arena,” said PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa.
Prior to her win, Ambassador Manalo already served as the Chair of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 1984-1985, which became the Preparatory Committee for the 1985 Third World Conference on Women. She became a member of the CEDAW Committee in 1999 and became its Chairperson in 2005-2006.
“By far, four (4) Filipinas have served as CEDAW Experts: the late Justice Irene Cortez as Vice-Chair from 1982 to 1986; Teresita Quintos-Deles from 1991 to 1994; Aurora Javate-De Dios from 1995 to 1998; and Ambassador Manalo from 1999 to 2006,” she added.
Being a member of the Committee of experts, Ambassador Manalo is expected to “monitor the implementation of CEDAW by Member States. CEDAW is also known as the International Bill of Rights of Women.
“It has been a decade since Ambassador Manalo served as Chair of the said Committee and while the CEDAW Experts act independently of their home country, her victory can be regarded as every Filipino woman’s victory since as it is testament of our leadership in women’s human rights at the global arena,” Verzosa noted.
CEDAW “defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for action to end such discrimination.” The Philippines, which is among 189 State Parties to CEDAW passed Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) in 2009 as a national application of the Convention. The Philippine Government is set to report on the status of implementation of CEDAW in the country in July 2016.
Ambassador Manalo is a “graduate of the University of the Philippines, where she obtained her Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts in Public Administration; and Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, where she earned her Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy. She became the first Filipina to pass the Philippines’ career foreign service officers examinations and has an unbeatable 57-year record of service in the Department of Foreign Affairs performing in various capacities in multilateral fora and bilateral relations.”
Ambassador Manalo used to sit in the Board of then National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women's (now PCW) when she was DFA Undersecretary.
On women’s leadership
In 2015, Ambassador Manalo was tapped by PCW as Keynote Speaker for the National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC), as the month-long celebration focused on women’s decision-making and political participation.
In one of her speaking engagements for 2015 NWMC, the esteemed envoy said she believes in the talent, resilience and strength of Filipino women and encouraged young women to never be afraid to take on leadership positions.
“A youth should be a leader. You should be given opportunity and space to lead your people in the name of service of the Republic… Develop always a positive attitude. Even if the skies are gray, do not forget the sun shines somewhere at the end of the rainbow; there is always hope in every challenge that confronts you; and that you are ready to overcome the challenge. Do not be pessimistic, do not be forlorn; always look at the brighter side of things,” said Ambassador Manalo.
She also advised young women to develop camaraderie and positive attitude towards other people, bearing in mind that other people can do as good if not better than one’s self. She also noted that a person can learn as much from friends and other people.
“You are not the only one who has a monopoly of knowledge and skills. They may have even have better knowledge and better skills than you, from which you can learn,” she added.
Her advice to young women for career development: “observe work ethics. Do not be corrupt. Do not play the games of intrigue. Do not be telling lies.”