President Benigno S. Aquino III is now one of the 10 Head of State IMPACT Champions for the United Nations’ (UN) HeForShe Movement.
IMPACT Champions are composed of Heads of States, Corporate Executives, and University Presidents from around the world who committed to make gender equality an institutional priority.
In 2015, Aquino accepted the invitation of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to become part of the HeForShe, noting that the global campaign is aligned with his administration's priorities.
"The Philippines has always played a leadership role in the area of gender equality, and my administration continues to formulate policies that will not only safeguard the gains of the past but also open more opportunities for the future. I am confident that this Campaign will not only bolster the existing national and local government programs for gender equality and women empowerment, but will also complement one of the Philippines’ advocacies, as 2015 APEC Chair, on ‘Women and the Economy’," he said.
President Aquino joins President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi, President Ir.H. Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Klaus Wemer Iohannis of Romania, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson of Iceland, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden and President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay.
Being an IMPACT Champion, the President committed that the Philippine Government will strengthen support to end violence against women (VAW), promote women's economic empowerment (WEE) by strengthening micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and promote male engagement for gender equality.
The HeForShe Campaign is a solidarity movement for gender equality developed by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights. It engages men and boys to become equal partners on three focus areas: (1) Ending Violence Against Women; (2) Women’s Economic Empowerment; and (3) Women’s Role in Politics and Peace Building.
The campaign also reframes gender equality, from that of a women’s issue, to an issue that requires the full participation of both women and men for social, political and economic benefits of the society.
At the beginning of his term in 2010, President Aquino included Gender Equality in his Social Contract with the Filipino People as he committed to make the government move “from a lack of concern for gender disparities and shortfalls, to the promotion of equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policies and programs.”
He was also recognized for having appointed women leaders in high-ranking positions in government, which include Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, among others.
Landmark laws supporting women’s rights and gender equality such the repeal to Article 130 of Labor Code provision on night work prohibition on women; Batas Kasambahay or the Domestic Workers’ Act (Republic Act No. 10361); the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (Republic Act No. 10354); and repeal of the Crime of Premature Marriage being imposed on women under the Revised Penal Code (Republic Act No. 10655); Republic Act 10398 declaring November 25 as the National Consciousness Day to End Violence Against Women; and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (Republic Act No. 10364) were passed during his term.