Legarda: PHL Receives Global Award On Closing Gender Gap

November 29, 2013

The Philippines is winner of the Award for Closing the Gender Gap in South and Southeast Asia at the Women in Parliaments Global Forum in Brussels, Belgium on November 27, 2013.


The award was given to the Philippines after the country ranked first among nations in South and Southeast Asia in the World Economic Forum’s survey of nations’ ability to close the gender gap.


Senator Loren Legarda, who received the award on behalf of the Philippine government, cited the Constitution as the country’s guidepost in the promotion of women’s rights, where the role of women in nation building and equality of women and men before the law are emphasized.


Legarda highlighted the country’s success in closing the gender gap through relevant policies and programs of the government, including laws for the protection of women: the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Magna Carta of Women, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Domestic Workers Act, among many others.


Through these laws, various special councils were created to uphold the interest and rights of women. These councils include: the Inter-Agency Committee on Gender Statistics, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, the National Steering Committee on Women, Peace and Security, and the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their Children.


The participation of Filipino women in government and politics has been significant as well. The country has had two female Presidents, while the current heads of three powerful agencies in the Philippine justice system—the Supreme Court, Office of the Ombudsman, and Department of Justice—are all women.


There are presently six women senators out of 24 and 75 of 287 members of the House of Representatives.


The number of local women executives has also been increasing, with 22 per cent of our provinces headed by women governors. At the municipal level, 1 in every 5 mayors is a woman.


The WEF’s survey also showed that among its Asian counterparts, the Philippines is leading in closing the gender gap in the areas of health and education because the government’s programs ensure that women’s concerns are heard and addressed.


“The Filipina shows no cowardice in the face of challenges. Over the years, Filipino women have assumed vital roles in our country, thereby gradually closing the gender gap. We must build on these gains and continue to provide equal support to men and women in reaching their full potential as individuals participating in nation building,” said Legarda.