PCW, European Union discuss shared goal and efforts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the European Union (EU) delegation explore areas of collaboration towards gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) in a hybrid face-to-face and online meeting held on October 18, 2021. EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron and Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Philippines Saskia de Lang, representing the EU delegation, visited the PCW Office and sat down with PCW officials, headed by Chairperson Sandra Sanchez-Montano and Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves.
Topping the agenda, the EU delegation elaborated on its Gender Action Plan III, Country Level Implementation Plan for the Philippines (CLIP) for 2021-2025. This involves key areas of engagement including: Addressing the challenges and harnessing opportunities offered by the green transition and the digital transformation; Integrating the women, peace, and security agenda; Ending all forms of gender-based violence; Promoting sexual and reproductive health and right; and promoting equal participation and leadership.
Both Ms. De Lang and Mr. Véron expressed hope that through this plan and PCW’s efforts, the two institutions can work hand in hand in pursuing the common goal of achieving gender equality and promoting and protecting equal rights of all.
“The new EU implementation plan translates our commitment and strategy to concrete interventions towards gender equality and women empowerment in our partnership with the Philippines. We wish to do more and in a more systematic way. Closely cooperating with the PCW is key to successfully improve gender equality and the situation of women in the Philippines”, said Mr. Véron.
“In many ways, we have seen the Philippines’ progress towards gender equality across sectors, despite challenges and setbacks. We support those who are working to bring a gender equal world closer to home, as we share our values and experiences based on the universality of rights”, De Lang shared.
For its part, PCW Chairperson Montano affirmed that the areas of engagement are integrated in the Philippines’ national development plan for women, the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) Plan 2019-2025. Meanwhile, Executive Director Atty. Yuzon-Chaves and Policy Development, Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PDPMED) officers also shared relevant updates on the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda touching key zones in the EU Plan.
“Before, when you talk about Filipinas or ASEAN, it is stereotyped that we are homemakers, not as front liners, not as board members, not the CEO, or the one in the platform of the economic agenda. But now we are also trying to change that image and we would like that women should go and participate in leadership… We would like to encourage actually more women to join in policy making, to join in the election by 2022 and hopefully more women would have a voice,” said Chairperson Montano.
The meeting also served as a venue to discuss current gender issues and challenges in various areas including education, welfare of rural women, child marriage, peace and security, gender-based violence, and even mental health.
Commissioner for the Culture Sector Ms. Amielyn Limbona, who hails from Marawi City in Mindanao, highlighted the importance of women’s participation in peace processes. She also mentioned that livelihood and relief assistance efforts for those affected by conflict, especially women and children, should be sustained and monitored.
Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in the Philippines Mr. Cristoph Wagner and programme manager for civil society and gender focal person at the EU Delegation in the Philippines, Ms. Stephanie Carette, also provided substantial inputs, especially on how EU is boosting their relations with partner countries in steps towards GEWE.
Ms. Carette explained that the EU employs different instruments to implement the areas of engagement such as gender mainstreaming –implementing programs with a gender lens; targeted actions – supporting government as well as civil society organizations and women organizations that implement projects on GEWE; dialogues with different stakeholders; and public diplomacy campaigns.
Also in attendance in the meeting were Commissioner for the Business and Industry Sector Ms. Judy Calimutan and technical officers of the PCW.
Moving forward, PCW and EU are exploring potential ways to partner through concrete efforts and knowledge-sharing towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.