MDGs serve as focus of International Women’s Day global centenary

March 8, 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) led the global centennial celebration with the theme “Magna Carta of Women, the Philippine CEDAW, in support of the Millennium Development Goals.” PCW Chairperson Remedios Rikken said the MCW goals and MDG goals are mutually reinforcing commitments.

The 56th UN General Assembly in September 2010 noted that gender equality, women’s empowerment, women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and poverty eradication are “essential to economic and social development, including the achievement of all the MDGs.”

Also, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed, “The Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed.”

The omnibus Magna Carta of Women seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting their rights, especially those in the marginalized sectors while the MDG is a list of international development targets that United Nations member countries agreed to achieve by the year 2015. Both seek to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The fulfillment of all goals require serious and concerted efforts,” Rikken said, adding that the strategy for government agencies and local government units should be to come up with significant activities that will address gender issues not only during Women’s Month but all throughout the year and beyond.

“We will welcome celebratory activities for Women’s Month but substantial budget should be utilized for addressing gender concerns,” Rikken emphasized. She encouraged government and non-government agencies to form partnerships and organize activities that will respond to:

  • Gender and Poverty (Goal 1): Determine the target poor and identify convergence of innovative interventions, poverty alleviation, food security and asset democratization to address the issue of 30 million Filipinos struggling to survive on a dollar a day or less each day;
  • Gender and Education (Goal 2): Enhance early childhood care and development towards achieving universal primary education to reduce the 5.2 million out of school Filipino children;
  • Women’s Empowerment (Goal 3): Support women’s participation in politics and decision making to increase the 18.4% share of elected posts won by women candidates during the May 2010 elections; Also, step up efforts to eliminate violence against women, particularly trafficking of women and children;
  • Gender and Health (Goals 4,5,6): Encourage the use of birth planning to reduce the 5,205 Filipino women getting unintended pregnancy, ensuring safe deliveries, and thus reduce the number of 11 Filipino women dying daily from a treatable complication of pregnancy;
  • Gender and Environment (Goal 7): Address climate change vulnerabilities of women and promote women’s participation in disaster risk preparedness to lessen the impact of environmental degradation to women especially the poor; On Global Partnership for Development and Financing the MDGs (Goal 8): Enhance the Gender and Development (GAD) Budgeting and Planning Guidelines and maximize public-private and Official Development Assistance (ODA) partnerships in the attainment of the MDGs.

“Women’s Month should serve as a venue for synergizing strategies and programs addressing gender issues in the MDGs,” Rikken said.

PCW hopes that this year’s focus on MDGs will yield stronger efforts in promoting women’s rights, and greater investment in education and health, including reproductive health and family planning as envisioned by Annan.

Presidential Proclamation Nos. 224 and 227, and Republic Act 6949 provide for the yearly observance of the month of March as National Women’s Month.