Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda
Laws are a powerful medium by which gender equality and women’s empowerment can be attained. While substantive gains towards this end have been achieved through developments in the Philippine legal framework, there remain in effect some laws that create or reinforce unequal gender relations and biases. This calls for the reexamination of such statutes to remove discriminatory provisions therein, as well as the formulation of policies to address emerging gender issues.
Republic Act No. 9710 or “The Magna Carta of Women” specifically provides that the “State shall take steps to review and, when necessary, amend and/or repeal existing laws that are discriminatory to women”. This is in consonance with the obligation of the Philippines as State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to repeal all discriminatory laws and practices and to enact anti-discriminatory policies and to provide effective mechanism and remedies where women can seek redress for the violations of their rights.
Thus, the Philippine Commission on Women as the primary policy-making and coordinating agency on women and gender equality concerns launched the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda (WPLA).
The WPLA is a set of proposed subjects of bills, developed through public consultation, that seeks to amend or repeal the discriminatory provisions of existing laws and pushes for the formulation and adoption of new legislation that promote, protect, and fulfill women’s rights and empowerment.
The Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda for the 17th Congress, composed of 12 legislative agenda, is the result of a series of consultations with various local women’s groups in three key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and a careful deliberation based on specific criteria to strategically address women and gender equality issues and concerns across the country.
It is hoped that all the legislative measures in the WPLA will be passed through the support and collaboration of our legislators, national government agencies, civil society organizations and stakeholders.
Two of these legislative agenda were already enacted into law:
- Expanded Maternity Leave Bill Act
- Safe Spaces Act