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 working women 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 in 1917 to recognize women’s contributions to all society and promote gender equality.
II. LEGAL MANDATES IN THE PHILIPPINES
- 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.
This year's celebration of Women's Month pays tribute to the strong and resilient "Juanas" who brought inspiring changes here in the country and across the globe.
With the recent geological, socio-economic and political upheavals that shook the country last year, 2014 brings a new ray of hope that will pave the way for healing, recovery and reconciliation. From the Zamboanga crisis to the pork barrel scandal, the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu, and the strongest typhoon history has ever recorded, and many disaster in other parts of the country, the Filipino spirit remains indomitable and unbowed.
These challenges have united the nation and inspired everyone to take part in recovery and rehabilitation processes. People from all walks of life and across the world extended all kinds of help they could offer. Efforts, regardless of how small or significant they were, did not go unnoticed.
The 2014 Women's Month Celebration is the best time to highlight the “drivers of change” who untiringly volunteered themselves in times of disaster, conflict and calamity. This celebration recognizes the role of women in the rehabilitation process and their over-all contributions to progress.
The objectives of this year’s celebration are as follows:
- To recognize women’s resiliency, strength and contributions to progress;
- To discuss Philippine gains, gaps and challenges in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).
IV. PROPOSED ACTIVITIES
As the lead advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality, the PCW has again geared itself up with a set of activities for the implementation of National Women’s Month celebration as follows:
- Learning Session on Gender Fair Media - March 3, 2014, Mabini Hall, Malacañang Palace
The Learning Session on Gender Fair Media aims to mainstream the Gender Equality Guide, Code of Ethics and Guidelines to Protect Women from Discrimination among media networks and organizations. It also aims to generate public awareness on the 2014 Women’s Month Celebration and to disseminate advocacy messages from the PCW.
The kick-off activity will try to set a world record of the most participated women symbol formation. This gathering of women’s groups, delegation from national and local government, academic institutions and civil society organizations aims to echo a united voice in valuing the indispensable role of women in recovery and progress and nation building.
- Women's Consultative Conference on the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) + 20 (by invitation only) – March 27-28, 2014
In 2015, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will carry out a review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (2000).
The United Nations Economic and Social Council called upon all States to undertake comprehensive national-level reviews of the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.
The Philippine Progress Report to the BPfA +20 being prepared by concerned agencies and NGOs will be presented and validated in a Women’s Consultative Conference. The conference shall serve as the venue for key government organizations, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders to share and discuss the achievements gained as well as gaps and challenges in the implementation of the BPfA. Recommendations fro the post-2015 development goals will also be discussed.
GADtimpala, the search for the most outstanding gender-responsive government agency at the national level, aims to recognize the outstanding achievement or performance of government agencies in upholding the rights of women and for effective implementation of gender-responsive programs. The GADtimpala awarding ceremony will be held during the Women’s Conference.
Recognizing the potential of mobile applications for improving the information and communication services of PCW, the PCW with support from AECID launched the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) mobile application contest. The contest aims to explore how mobile applications can help promote women’s rights and support the knowledge about MCW and its provisions. The winning mobile application will be announced during the Women’s Conference.
Open to all college students nationwide, the contest aims to raise awareness on women and gender issues. Entry submissions must fall under one of the following categories: “Women and Disaster Response,” “Women and Media,” “Women and Peacebuilding,” “Women’s Political Participation” or “Young Women’s Reproductive Health.”
- Women's Month Photo Exhibit (March 1-31, 2014; HOR and Senate Lobby)
The photo exhibit aims to promote awareness on women’s empowerment and gender equality in a visual manner, capturing the essential representation of Filipino women in different situations/conditions in our society. The photos on the BPfA +20 will serve both as an IEC material for PCW and strategic tool on creating change towards better perception on women’s empowerment and gender equality.
- “Inspiring Changes”: Stories of Empowered Juanas (microsite)
This microsite will feature inspiring/success stories of empowered women, from all walks of life. Individuals and organizations may submit their stories through this user-generated content (UGC) platform and will be channeled to various media networks and affiliations of PCW.
- Capacity development and Certification of GAD Resource Pool Member (March 25-26, 2014)
The PCW will certify 40-50 GAD Resource Pool members that can be tapped to provide strategic and effective technical assistance to National Government Agencies (NGAs) and Local Government Unit (LGUs) in mainstreaming Gender and Development.