Legarda Hails Senate Approval of Expanded Maternity Leave, Says PHL Can Lead Global Fight on Women Empowerment

March 7, 2017

In observance of International Women’s Day, Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines can lead the global effort to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.


Legarda also hailed the Senate’s approval of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, which she co-authored.


“The Senate’s approval of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law is timely as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 and National Women’s Month. This is a multi-pronged measure on improving maternal healthcare, reducing child mortality, and promoting breastfeeding,” she said.


The measure provides that all female workers, regardless of civil status or legitimacy of her child, should be granted 120 days maternity leave with pay and an option to extend for another 30 days without pay. Single mothers, on the other hand, would be granted a total of 150 days maternity leave with pay.


“This is an important women empowerment measure because when mothers are given enough time to recuperate from childbirth and care for their newborns, they feel more fulfilled as mothers, which will definitely affect their emotional well-being, give them more confidence, and allow them to be prepared again to embark on a more challenging role of being working mothers and equal partners of men in nation-building,” Legarda explained.


Meanwhile, the Senator also said that the country already has several laws on gender equality and women empowerment, and the implementation of these policies are improving through the years.


“We know that there are still challenges and there are many Filipino women who are still victims of abuse and discrimination. But we are doing well compared to other nations, thus, we must build on our gains and continue to provide equal support to men and women,” said Legarda.


The country has been consistently at the top tier in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) gender equality index. It ranks first in Asia and always at the top ten countries globally in the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report.


“The Philippines can lead the global effort to achieve gender equality and women empowerment. We can share with other countries our best practices on women empowerment as well as our laws which can be used as guide by other nations in crafting policies on gender equality,” she explained.


The Philippines has a multitude of laws on the protection of women’s rights, which Legarda authored/co-authored, such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Anti-Discrimination Against Women Act, the Women in Development and Nation Building Act, the Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act, the Magna Carta of Women, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, and the Domestic Workers Act.


The Magna Carta of Women, which Legarda co-authored, ensures women are protected from violence and other crisis situations, represented and given role in community decision-making, given equal access to education and employment, and provided with access to comprehensive health services, among other provisions.


The Senator also said that women should be engaged in disaster resilience and climate adaptation efforts as these are among the world’s most pressing concerns today.


“We must invest in women, make them part of decision-making, as their development role is crucial in adapting to climate change and building community resilience to disasters. From the quiet but steady work they perform at their communities, women should move into the frontlines of delivering decisive action towards a sustainable and resilient planet,” Legarda concluded.