Press Release
March 8, 2011

Legarda: Gender Equality and Women Empowerment,
A Cause for Both Genders

Senator Loren Legarda today stressed that promoting gender equality and women empowerment is an advocacy that is not meant to put a divide between men and women, but a cause for both genders to ensure that the rights of every person is respected regardless of gender and that each individual may be able to live a fruitful life and contribute to nation building.

Legarda, in her privilege speech for the celebration of International Women's Day and National Women's Month, explained that even with numerous laws on women's rights already in place, much is still needed to achieve gender equality and promote women empowerment.

"We continue to strengthen current legal mechanisms of the government and seek effective ways to ensure the protection of women's rights. However, legislation is just one phase of the overall effort to achieve gender equality and women empowerment. These laws need to be strictly and faithfully implemented," she said.

Legarda has filed several bills to improve the country's current laws on women's rights and welfare.

Senate Bill 1434, or the Women Empowerment Act, aims to provide equal opportunity between men and women in the areas of public governance by reserving certain percentages of positions in the different branches of government to qualified women.

Senate Bill 1436, seeks to amend certain sections of Republic Act 8505 by expanding the coverage of assistance and protection given to rape victims to include survivors of other gender-based violence and crimes against women and children.

Meanwhile, Senate Bills 1393, An Act Establishing Breast Care Centers Nationwide, and 1399, the Breast Cancer Detection Act, aims to increase breast cancer prevention and awareness, and ensure that all Filipino women will have access to facilities and procedures that will help the early detection, prevention and cure of the disease.

"The fight for gender equality and women empowerment, like any other issue in our society, can only be achieved and will only be successful when all sectors work together," Legarda said.

She also said that this advocacy is not a battle of the sexes, but a fight for a better society where every individual is able to achieve his/her full potential and all citizens take part in nation-building.

"This battle is not for women alone; men are part of it as well. Every male individual has a significant woman in his life, be it his mother, wife, sister, daughter, or even a close friend. Men will have to support this cause if only to ensure that even that single important lady in his life would not be helpless, discriminated, or abused and would have the strength to defend herself and the capability to achieve her goals and excel in her chosen field," Legarda concluded.

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