NCRFW leads 2008 International Gender Migration Conference in Manila

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the government’s machinery for women’s advancement, leads the 2008 International Conference on Gender, Migration and Development: Seizing Opportunities, Upholding Rights which will be held on September 25-26, 2008 at the Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

The conference seeks to bring together representatives from government, civil society organizations (CSOs), academe and private sector to explore and propose actions and partnerships to address the issues on gender, migration and development.

NCRFW Chairperson Myrna T. Yao expressed that women are vulnerable to human rights abuses and participating countries must implement safeguards to protect and promote the rights of women migrants.

Through the conference, governments and other international participants are expected to share their perspectives and experiences, and build partnerships and networks for the cause of women migrants.

“Aside from discussing issues on protection of women migrant workers’ rights, the international conference will seize opportunities of migration for women by highlighting good practices on reintegration, use of remittances, and financial literacy training,” she said.

For the Philippines alone, a total of 1.52 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were deployed all over the world during the period of April to September 2006 of which 50.4 percent or 764,000 are women. This number indicates a significant increase of 15.8 percent from the 660,000 estimated female OFWs in 2005. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that there are about 191 million migrants worldwide in 2005, up from 176 million in 2000. Remiitance flows are estimated to have exceeded USD 276 billion worldwide in 2006, USD 206 billion of which went to developing countries.

Although the number of Asian migrants has increased from 28.1 million in 1970 to 43.8 million in 2000, IOM said Asia’s share of global migrant stock decreased from 34.5 per cent to 25 per cent over the same period.

The conference is supported by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Women and Gender Institute of Miriam College (WAGI-MC) and Lola Grande for Women and Children, Inc.