The observance of International Women’s Day (IWD) was a result of the organizing activities of women in the early 20th Century. Between 1909 and 1911, working women in the United States participated in organizing strike activities of the National Women’s Trade Union League and other concerned groups. They were responding to the low wages, lack of protective legislation and the poor working conditions to which women workers were subjected during that time.
The demonstrations were an offshoot of the tragic March 25 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which took the lives of more than 140 working girls, mostly Italian and Jewish immigrants. Subsequently, the inhumane working conditions and other unfair labor practices leading up to the disaster were invoked during observances of IWD.
In Europe, Clara Zetkin and the Socialist Women’s International demanded that March 8th be the International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated each year to recognize workingwomen around the world. The celebration of IWD has since stimulated major historical events. For instance, IWD was the inspiration for the general strike which began the Russian Revolution in St. Petersburg in 1917 when 10, 000 women textile workers demonstrated.
It is due to such history of women organizing around the world that IWD was officially recognized by the United Nations to celebrate women’s contributions to all societies.
II. LEGAL MANDATES
In the Philippines, the 2013 Women’s Month/Day Celebration is pursuant to:
- Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day;
- Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and
- Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.
In consonance with President Benigno Aquino’s pursuit and vision of ‘tuwid na daan’, the theme being adopted for the 2013 Women’s Month Celebration is “Kababaihan: Gabay sa Pagtahak sa Tuwid na Daan”. The theme underscores women’s leadership role and participation in governance to enhance gender perspective in upholding good governance. It highlights the importance of strengthening the mechanisms and institutions that support women and to widen the arena for their participation. It is also aligned with Section 11 (Participation and Representation) and Section 29 (Peace and Development) of the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710).
The objectives of this year’s celebration are as follows:
- To highlight women’s leadership roles, participation in-decision making, and participation in the political arena, peace-building and conflict resolution;
- To build upon the gains achieved under existing mechanisms and institutions that support women and gender-responsive governance; and
- To strengthen partnership with media in promoting women’s rights and in advocating to address gender issues.
IV. PROPOSED MAJOR ACTIVITIES
As the lead advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality, the Philippine Commission on Women has again geared itself up a set of activities for the implementation of National Women’s Month celebration as follows:
A. Women’s Day Forum - March 8, 2013 (by invitation only)
- The Philippine Commission on Women, in collaboration with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, will organize a forum aligned with the Women’s Month theme “Kababaihan: Gabay sa Pagtahak sa Tuwid na Daan”.
- Participants: around 200 representatives from the Muslim communities
- Venue: to be announced
B. GREAT Women Product Brand Launch – March 19, 2013 (by invitation only)
- To showcase the improved products of the Women Micro Entrepreneurs (WMEs) from the selected GREAT Women Project (GWP) Areas, PCW and ECHOsi Foundation, will present the GREAT Women Brand at the Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza on March 19, 2013.
- Participants: GWP partner women micro entrepreneurs, representatives from the PCW and CIDA, ECHOsi board members, designers and officers, members of the Women’s Business Council, Zonta groups and Yuchengco Museum guests
- Venue: Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, Makati City
C. Launch of the Gender Equality Guides for Media - March 22, 2013 (by invitation only)
- In coordination with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Chair of the Gender Equality Committee for Media (MGEC), the MGEC policy documents, namely: Code of Ethics for Media, Gender Equality Guide, and Guidelines to Protect Women Against Discrimination in Media and Film will be launched.
- Participants: Around 100 representatives from MGEC members, government agencies, private media, schools of journalism, information and communication, national media federations and associations
D. Young Women Leaders Forum - March 20 to 21, 2013
- A conference to be participated by a select group of young women leaders in the country to capacitate them with opportunities to develop and exercise their analytical, technical, communication, leadership and networking skills.
- Conference sessions will include discussions on crucial issues like democracy, participation, health, environment, gender and other issues.
- The activity aims to create a network of empowered young women who would hopefully sustain the gains of the Philippines in addressing women’s/gender issues.
- The Young Women Leaders’ Initiative is a capacity building activity of the AECID-funded project of the PCW on the Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women.
Note: Agencies are encouraged to undertake their own activities for the Women’s Month Celebration