Lead agency for women gears up for 2012, to push for elderly, youth and indigenous women’s concerns

In the 37th anniversary of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the management and staff vow to continue training themselves for Gender and Development (GAD) work, providing technical assistance to and partnering with national and local government bodies, and civil society organizations.

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) will pay more attention to less popular women’s concerns such as the physically handicapped, elderly, youth, indigenous people, electronic violence against women (e-VAW) and climate change, Chairperson Remedios Rikken stated during the agency’s celebration of its 37th year at the Mabini Hall, Malacañang Palace on Monday (January 9). “It seems like such a long time ago when the world first started to recognize that women are partners of men in development,” Rikken recalls. “When the United Nations (UN) declared the First International Conference on Women in 1975, and the First Generation of Women Leaders in the Philippines lobbied the national government for the establishment of what the UN calls the National Machinery for Women, the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)” was born, she added.

NCRFW was instrumental in the Philippine ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), also known as the women’s bills of rights. Countries that ratify CEDAW commit improve the status of women and end discrimination and violence against women.

The agency created several documents that outlines and guides both government and civil society organizations in advancing women’s rights and welfare at the national and local levels. “From the language of ‘women’s liberation’ to ‘women in development’ to ‘women and development’ to ‘gender and development,’ new tools of analysis were developed…to better understand what needs to be done,” Rikken elaborated.

The landmark legislation Magna Carta of Women changed the name of NCRFW to PCW and transformed it from an advisory to a policy-making body. With new and complex issues emerging, PCW will continue equipping its staff, and providing technical assistance to partners in government and civil society organizations. “The challenge is to keep it exciting, fun and ‘sexy’ as some of our partners suggest,” Rikken concluded.