Legarda Joins Calls to Achieve Gender Balance, Says PH Can Lead

March 7, 2019

In observance of International Women’s Day (March 8), Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines can lead the global effort to build a more gender-balanced world.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Finance, Foreign Relations and Climate Change, said that other countries can learn from the Philippines, especially in terms of crafting the necessary legal mechanisms that would ensure gender equality and women empowerment.

The Senator said that the President has already signed into law Republic Act No. 11210, or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, which extends the paid maternity leave to 105 days from the current 60 days.

“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, 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,” said Legarda, co-author of the law.

The Expanded Maternity Leave Act is only one of several pro-women measures that the country has enacted and implemented through the years. Other laws, which Legarda also authored, include the Magna Carta of Women, Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, and the Domestic Workers Act.

“Because of these laws and the improving implementation, the Philippines has always been part of the top ten countries successful in empowering women and addressing issues on gender gap,” said Legarda.

She noted that, in the yearly Global Gender Gap Report (GGGR) by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Philippines is always among the top ten countries globally in the gender equality index.

“The Philippines can lead the global effort to close gender gap while also addressing the issues women continue to face in the country. 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,” said Legarda.

The three-term senator said that providing opportunities for women in education, in the workplace, in rural development, in governance and leadership roles, and ensuring that their special needs are addressed, would not only result in gender empowerment but also contribute to poverty alleviation and economic growth.

“We must provide women the needed support to have the confidence to lead and be at the forefront of efforts to improve communities and take initiatives that will contribute to the nation’s progress,” Legarda concluded.