PCW Memorandum Circular No. 2023-01: Guide for the 2023 National Women’s Month Celebration
|To||Heads of Executive Departments, Agencies, Bureaus, Offices, State Universities and Colleges, Government-Owned and/or -Controlled Corporations, Legislative and Judiciary Branches, Constitutional Bodies, Other Instrumentalities of the National Government, Local Government Units, and All Others Concerned|
|Subject||Guide for the 2023 National Women’s Month Celebration|
|Date||February 6, 2023|
This Memorandum Circular is issued to stakeholders to provide guidelines for the National Women’s Month Celebration in March 2023. It covers the following sections:
- Background of the National Women’s Month Celebration and its legal bases;
- Campaign Objectives;
- Campaign theme for 2023 to 2028;
- Focus for the 2023 Campaign;
- Suggested Activities for Stakeholders;
- PCW-organized NWMC activities;
- Compliance with Health, Safety, and Non-partisan protocols;
- Use of Gender and Development (GAD) Budget; and
- Details for sending inquiries and feedback.
2.0 BACKGROUND AND POLICY MANDATES
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) spearheads the annual National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC), which honors women and their contributions to nation-building. It highlights the need to protect, promote, and fulfill women’s rights so they can maximize their potential and welfare, enabling them to be agents of the country’s development. This celebration also coincides with the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD).
The following issuances serve as the legal bases for staging this annual national activity:
- Proclamation No. 224, s. of 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. of 1988, providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and
- Republic Act No. 6949 (1990), declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.
In addition, the country also celebrates the Girl Child Week and the Women with Disabilities Day within the Women’s Month pursuant to the following:
- Proclamation No. 759, s. of 1996 – Declaring every fourth week of March as the Protection and Gender-Fair Treatment of the Girl Child Week. This underscores the need to provide “every girl who is below 18 years of age with equal opportunities and adequate protection to prepare her for a role in community development.”
- Proclamation No. 744, s. of 2004 – Declaring the last Monday of March of every year as Women with Disabilities Day to promote the protection and inclusion of women with disabilities in the society who deserve equal rights in the field of law and in all aspects of human endeavor.
3.0 MULTI-YEAR THEME AND OBJECTIVES
From 2016 to 2022, the theme “WE Make CHANGE Work for Women” focused on emphasizing the need for compassionate and harmonized networks towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.
This 2023, the PCW launches a new recurring theme for the celebration: WE for gender equality and inclusive society, along with the official hashtag #WEcanbeEquAll. The 2023-2028 theme is both a positive affirmation and a call to action. It is a testament to the milestones achieved in closing gender gaps in the country and in gathering more support to the advocacy. Notably, the Philippines remains the best-performing country in Asia in terms of gender parity, according to the 2022 Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum. In a scale of 0 to 1, where 1 represents optimal gender parity, the country scored 0.783, a slight slip from the 2022 score of 0.784. This means that the Philippines still has a 21.7% gender gap to close. While the Report shows that the country dropped from the 17th to 19th spot in the general ranking out of 146 countries, the Philippines is still at the second place in the whole of East Asia and the Pacific, next to New Zealand. Moreover, the country is still leading among its Asia counterparts, being the only Asian country in the top twenty, with Singapore and Lao PDR ranking 49th and 53rd, respectively. Hence, the campaign shows the urgency to strengthen efforts toward gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).
The recurring theme is also in consonance with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which aims for “deep economic and social transformation to reinvigorate job creation and accelerate poverty reduction by steering the economy back on a high-growth path.” The plan also highlights that growth must be inclusive, building an environment that provides equal opportunities to all Filipinos and equipping them with skills to participate fully in an innovative and globally competitive economy.
Elements of the Theme:
- WE stands for Women and Everyone emphasizing the role of women themselves and everyone in the pursuit of gender equality. WE also stands for “Women’s Empowerment,” which can only be achieved when agencies, mechanisms, institutions, private partners, and duty-bearers from the national to the local level provide women equal rights and opportunities, and women take these opportunities to further themselves. With women and everyone in synergy, WE can make gender equality a possibility.
- Gender Equality. Gender equality is the first half of the GEWE advocacy, and it is the ultimate goal when we advance the rights of women. Thus, the theme bearing this is a call for urgent action to double the efforts toward this absolute aspiration. In the Global Gender Gap Report, at the current rate of progress, with the global gender gap being closed by only 68.1%, it will take 132 years to reach gender equality worldwide, a stark difference from the figure of 99.5 years in the 2020 report. Hence, this means that none of us, or most likely many of our children, will see gender parity in our lifetimes. But not all hope is gone because our right for gender equality today is for a better and more inclusive tomorrow, albeit not in the next generations. The term gender equality is also preceded by the word “for,” signifying our call to women and everyone to vote for, take action on, and promote equality and inclusivity.
- Inclusive Society. This is a call not only for a gender-responsive society but an inclusive one. A society that overrides differences in SOGIE, class, ability, generation, status, and culture; a society where every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play. Equality and inclusion go hand-in-hand in the GEWE advocacy.
Agencies at the national and local levels, as well as other stakeholders, shall be guided by the following general objectives in planning their NWMC activities:
- To inform and engage women and everyone to push for gender-responsive government programs and services that empower women to contribute to nation-building;
- To provide platforms to share good practices and address gaps, challenges, and commitments in pursuing gender and development (GAD) – to further strengthen the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women toward its milestone 15th year in 2024;
- To inspire women and girls to empower themselves and take on leadership roles, opportunities, and benefits toward maximizing their full potential and enabling them to reap the fruits of gender equality;
- To promote a society that ensures inclusion, protection of fundamental freedoms, diversity, and social justice and in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, is capacitated and encouraged to take an active role to play.
4.0 FOCUS FOR NWMC 2023: DIGITALL: INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY FOR GENDER EQUALITY
The recurring theme will seek to tackle areas where the need for gender equality and inclusivity is pressing, emerging, and crucial. Therefore, for 2023, the focus will be on “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, in line with the International Women’s Day theme. The 2023 National Women’s Month Celebration will call for the empowerment of women and girls toward maximizing their benefits from innovation and technology and bridging the gender gap in ICT and connectivity. This is also in line with the priority theme of the 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW67), “innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
This sub-theme also zeroes in on Strategic Goal Area 5 of the Updated Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan 2019-2025 on the “Expanded opportunities for Women’s Participation, Leadership and Benefits in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), ICT, Infrastructure, and Energy.” Over the years, there have been strides in this goal, including women in micro, medium, and small enterprises (MSMEs) being assisted with technological innovations to improve their products, services, operations and increase their productivity and competitiveness as well as the increased awareness of women and girls about cyberbullying and online sexual abuse. However, there are still emerging issues that must be given attention and action, in terms of bridging the digital divide, enrolling and supporting more women in these paths, ensuring a gender-responsive recovery program in the STI and ICT sector, and making these industries safe for and beneficial to women.
5.0 SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES
The PCW encourages government agencies and instrumentalities, non-government organizations, sectoral groups, private and civil society organizations, and other stakeholders at the national, regional, and local levels to organize relevant and substantive activities in line with the general objectives and focus of the 2023 NWMC and the Gender and Development (GAD) objectives. The following activities can be considered:
5.1 NWMC-themed Flag Raising Ceremony – All government agencies and local government units can include NWMC announcements in their respective Flag Raising Ceremonies on February 27 or March 6, 2023. The use of the All-Women Cast Lupang Hinirang Video in NWMC activities is highly recommended. The music video can be downloaded here.
5.2 For GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) Members – GFPS members of agencies with mandates relative to technology, innovation, and ICT are invited to attend the onsite event for the International Women’s Day (March 8), to be conducted in collaboration with UN Women (subject to the availability of slots). Due to the limited seating capacity of the event venue, the activity attendance will be by invitation. Updates on the details will be posted on the NWMC webpage.
5.3 Participation in the NWMC #DigitALL Forum Series – GAD advocates are highly encouraged to join the NWMC #DigitALL Forum Series to be held on March 15, 22, and 29 (See details in Section 6.0). Participation via livestream viewing is free of charge and no registration will be required.
5.4 GAD Forum / GAD Agenda Setting – Government agencies and local government units (LGUs) can organize onsite, virtual, or hybrid activities where they can tackle gender issues that they can help resolve or minimize, in line with their mandates, as well as assess internal gender concerns that need immediate attention. With GAD Agenda Setting, agencies and LGUs can reflect on their own GAD journey and plot their future plans toward a gender-responsive governance that contributes to the welfare of their clients/constituents and internal stakeholders.
5.5 GADtoKnow – Agencies and LGUs can produce, distribute, and/or share information materials (online and print) featuring the list of their gender-responsive programs and services benefiting women, as well as simplified steps and requirements to avail of such. Participating agencies and stakeholders can also produce and distribute different IEC materials on the National Women’s Month Celebration and laws on women. Agencies can access information materials here.
5.6 2023 NWMC banner of support. Show that you are for gender equality and inclusive society! Display the National Women’s Month Celebration banner in front of respective offices, landmarks, and other areas and upload the digital counterpart to the agency’s/organization’s official website and social media accounts.
5.7 PurpleWednesdays or #PurpleYourIcon. Wear anything purple on all the Wednesdays of March to signify support for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Participants can also light up or decorate offices or landmarks in purple as a celebration of women and their contribution to the society as well as to serve as a springboard for discussion on the NWMC.
5.8 Musika ng Kababaihan Wednesdays (#MNKWednesdays). Melody and harmony for gender equality! Play the songs from the MusikJuana Songwriting Contest and other PCW advocacy songs in office premises, public and private establishments, parks, and even on social media every Wednesday of March. Get these hymns of women’s empowerment here.
5.9 Offer your own “Serbisyo para kay Juana”. Government agencies and private organizations providing direct services, transactions, and products to the public can offer freebies, discounts, special lanes, and other promos to women and girls on International Women’s Day (March 8) and/or other dates in March to serve as their appreciation in this special month of celebration.
Stakeholders who wish to have their #SerbisyoParaKayJuana activities included in PCW’s list for announcements are requested to fill out this form.
5.10 Coordinate with regional and local GAD mechanisms, such as the Regional GAD Councils, in holding inter-agency activities aimed at strengthening the implementation and monitoring of the Magna Carta of Women and other laws on women and GAD programs in their respective areas.
5.11 Conduct Fora, Workshops, Lectures, Contests or similar activities about Gender and Development (GAD) or tackle specific issues and concerns of women relevant to their respective sectors or mandates. For schools, colleges, and universities, essay-writing, poster-making, or other contests and creative activities that cultivate young people’s interest on GAD may also be explored.
5.12 Organize activities in support of the Girl-Child Week and the Women with Disabilities Day Celebration – Everyone is encouraged to join the Girl Child Week, observed every fourth week of March, which is led by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), as well as the Women with Disabilities Day celebration spearheaded annually by the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).
5.13 Use the official collateral designs released by PCW – Stakeholders are advised to use the standard branding design released by the PCW for the 2023 NWMC. The branding guide, standard banner, and sample collateral designs can be downloaded here.
5.14 Use the official hashtag: #WEcanbeEquALL – Drumming up support to the advocacy, the online campaign will show our hope that #WEcanbeEquALL. This new hashtag motivates women and everyone (WE) to push for equality and inclusivity where ALL, regardless of gender, ability, status, and situation, are respected and afforded their rights. With our battlecry #WEcanbeEquALL, no one should be left behind. Under this hashtag, participants can also share their commitments and plans of action in working for gender equality and an inclusive society.
5.15 Support PCW’s online advocacy – Maximize digitALL by echoing the advocacy online and sharing PCW’s official social media accounts, and developing agency-fit NWMC campaigns. Participants can also use the 2023 NWMC Advocacy Profile Photo and other online materials (online sticker pack, online collaterals, etc.) They can also showcase their activities online and join the online thread using #WEcanbeEquALL.
5.16 Be featured in the NWMC Calendar of Activities and Activity Photos. Agencies with activities lined up can share the same to PCW by filling out this form so their respective events can be featured in the NWMC Calendar of Activities. Agencies can also send their activity photos which can be posted on PCW’s Facebook page (subject to review and deadline). Submit activity photos here.
6.0 PCW-ORGANIZED ACTIVITIES
Stakeholders are enjoined to participate or support the activities organized by the PCW in time for the 2023 NWMC.
6.1 International Women’s Day Celebration with the theme DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality
The PCW, in partnership with UN Women, will kick off the 2023 National Women’s Month Celebration on March 8, International Women’s Day, with the theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. The event will gather advocacy partners, policymakers, GADvocates in technology, innovation, and ICT, government GAD workers, youth, and the private sector, in a full day of sharing and learning. The assembly will be a springboard for discussions revolving around the policies that must be lobbied and issues that must be addressed in terms of women’s involvement and contribution to the technology and digital realm.
The IWD event will also serve as the venue for the NWMC Media Conference, which will apprise media partners as to the status of Filipino women and will provide opportunities to discuss and shed light on gender issues.
6.2 Launching of the Pulso para sa Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran Report
In 2022, the PCW launched the Pulso para sa Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran Online Poll, aiming to set a roadmap for decision-makers and leaders through getting the pulse of Filipinos on priority issues that must be addressed. Based on the Updated GEWE Plan Results Matrices, it laid down specific targets in the following areas: Trade, Industry and Services; Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (AFF); Labor and Employment; Health and Nutrition; Education; Shelter; Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the Justice System; Women, Peace, and Security; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT); Infrastructure and Transportation; Energy; Women and Politics; Women and the Civil Service; Gender Norms and Culture. Garnering almost 5,000 responses from all over the Philippines, the results show a snapshot of what should the Agenda ng Kababaihan include in the perspective of citizens themselves.
This 2023, the PCW will release the Pulso Report which details the online poll results and which can guide sitting officials, as well as government agencies, private organizations, and GEWE advocates in crafting programs, activities, and projects that can minimize or resolve existing gender issues.
6.3 NWMC DigitALL Forum Series
ChatGE: Talk about Gender Equality (March 15)
In a truly digitALL fashion, PCW will launch an online forum series revolving around ICT, innovation, and technology vis-a-vis the quest for gender equality. On March 15, 2023, the online forum will showcase the government’s efforts to increase the visibility of women in these industries. This event will inform women about the programs, activities, and projects the government provides and that they can avail.
Safe in Tech, Innovation, and Cyberspace (March 22)
The increasingly ICT-driven world breeds various forms of risks in technology, innovation, and cyberspace. Hence, this forum will look into the vulnerabilities women and girls are exposed to and discuss possible safeguards, solutions, and security mechanisms.
KasamaALL: Inclusivity in Innovation and Technology (March 29)
True to the sub-theme for this year, the third and culminating episode of the DigitALL online forum series will feature the opportunities for women in technology as well as the call for their increased participation in these industries.
6.4 #JuanaSays 2023
Now on its 9th year, the #JuanaSays 2023 will feature a daily inspiring quote from women in technology, ICT, and innovation. The statement cards aim to provide a dose of inspiration and motivation that can encourage women and girls to pursue careers and rally behind women’s rights in these fields. Stakeholders are encouraged to share the statement cards that PCW will release daily within the month of March, through its official social media platforms.
Drumming up support to the advocacy, the online campaign will show our hope that #WEcanbeEquALL. This new hashtag motivates women and everyone (WE) to push for equality and inclusivity where ALL, regardless of gender, ability, status, and situation, are respected and afforded their rights. With our battlecry #WEcanbeEquALL, no one should be left behind. Under this hashtag, participants can also share their commitments and plans of action in working for gender equality and an inclusive society
6.6 2023 NWMC Sticker Pack
PCW will release a new online sticker pack for the 2023 NWMC, featuring positive messages that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Download, share, and use the sticker pack for free on Viber, Telegram, and Instagram
7.0 OBSERVANCE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY, AND NON-PARTISAN PROTOCOLS
With the country still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, PCW reminds all stakeholders to observe relevant health and safety protocols in conducting physical gatherings in their respective areas. The annual celebration of the National Women’s Month is also a peaceful and non-partisan activity. To maintain the focus on the advocacy, please refrain from using PCW-produced materials for partisan political activities.
8.0 USE OF THE GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT BUDGET
The NWMC is one of the annual advocacy events spearheaded by the PCW based on existing legal and GAD mandates. It promotes public awareness on women’s issues and recognizes the vital role of women in society. As such, expenses for the annual NWMC may be charged to the GAD Budget of government offices, and may be reflected in their GAD Accomplishment Reports, provided that the activities conducted are in line with the theme, objectives, and focus area of concern provided in PCW’s guidelines, and fall within the mandate of the implementing government agency.
Nothing in this circular shall be interpreted to amend previously set policies on GAD Planning and Budgeting, or any procurement, auditing, or administrative-related policies set by appropriate oversight agencies.
9.0 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND INQUIRIES
Stakeholders are advised to visit this link for more information, downloadable collateral designs, and updates about the 2023 NWMC.
Announcements are also posted on PCW’s official social media pages:
For further questions and clarifications, stakeholders may contact PCW’s Corporate Affairs and Information Resource Management Division through Trunk Line: (02) 8735-1654, local 131 or 121, Direct Line: (02) 8352-5372 (Ms. Nevicshky Calma and Mr. Ann Jun Magnaye) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
10.0 FOR GUIDANCE AND APPROPRIATE ACTION.
(Sgd.) ATTY. KRISTINE ROSARY E. YUZON-CHAVES
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