Gender issues such as inequality and biases which led to gender-based violence and discrimination are worldwide concern. To eliminate these biases and level the playing field for all sexes, women, since early 1900s, rallied for the recognition of their human and women’s rights. Thus, in 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States of America. February 28 of 1909 was designated as Women’s Day in honor of the 1908 garment workers strike in New York where women protested against working conditions.
Since then, slowly but significantly, recognition for women’s capacities and human rights took place. The campaign towards equality between women and men is an international concern and was made part of the United Nation’s Millennium Development goals (MDGs) and yearly, March is is designated as “International Women’s Day” and in the Philippines, Republic Act 9649 declared the same day of every year as “National Women’s Day.”
This 2013, the international theme for the Women’s Month celebration is “Elimination and Prevention of all forms of violence against Women and Girls.” Violence Against Women or VAW is defined in the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women as “any act of violence against women that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats, of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”
Marikina is active in the campaign against VAW and is celebrating Women’s Month too advocating towards “equality between women and men.”
Statistics speaks for the importance of continuous campaigning on “equality” which leads to VAW:
- up to 70% of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime
- the first sexual experience for many women was reported as forced
- approximately 100 to 400 million girls and women in the world have experienced genital mutilation/cutting
- 20.1% of women aged 15-49 has experienced physical violence since age 15; 14.4% of married woman have experienced physical abuse from their husbands; and 37% of separated or widowed women have experienced physical violence
- 2010 VAW cases reported to the Philippine National Police rose by 59.2% or 15,104 cases from 2009 report of 9,485
- Statistics on VAW, Philippine Commission on Women
- UN Women, Unite to End VAW Fact Sheet
- Gender Fact Sheet by Miriam College-WAGI
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