The Gender and Development Inter-agency Committee spearheads the launching of the Women’s Month Celebration during the regular Monday morning flag raising ceremony of the provincial government last March 6.

One of the highlights of the program was the 1 Billion Rising dance by hundreds of gender advocates, employees of the Provincial Government, national government agencies, non-government organizations, cooperatives and other sectors, both men and women. The 1 Billion Rising is a rise through dance campaign to end Violence Against Women and Children, it is also a yearly mass action since 2012, and this 2017 it focuses on the rise of solidarity against the exploitation of women. 

“Up to now, women are still fighting for their rights, women are still being  bullied and the governor of Antique is still being bullied up to now, by no less by our Antiqueño menfolk. Why? Because they think women are just second class citizens, but I implore the menfolk that we sleep with you every night, isn’t it that we are the shoulder you lean on if you have a problem, isn’t it that we mother your children, and isn’t it sometimes we are the one who bring you to your graves? Why are you doing this to us, because the menfolk doesn’t realize the importance of women, they feel that they are their slaves. The usual “hashtag” of the menfolk says, “Asawa Ko Lang ‘Yan”, wala ‘yan; hindi makabato and even up to now women are still suffering from that kind of masculine mentality”, Gov. Cadiao said in her message to all women during the program. She also added, “So today we are dressed p not to fight our men folk but to dance with. We all have to celebrate this occasion. Thank you for putting up women in places where they should be”.  

This year, the activity celebrates the theme “We Make Change Work for Women”, it focuses on the empowerment of women and the full implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW). As part of this month’s celebration the GAD-IAC planned a series of activities starting from the information dissemination through radio program guesting; the celebration of the International Women’s Day last March 8 with a whole day activity of pampering women by giving out free massage, haircut, manicure, pedicure and food, they also offered free zumba lessons and parlor games in the afternoon. The committee also is planning to hold a Culmination Program on March 31, and conduct a Gender and Development Sessions to the Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) of San Jose de Buenavista throughout the month.

In the theme, there are many elements inside it: We stand for Women Empowerment, that enables women to confidently and meaningfully engage with appropriate institutions to ensure that they contribute to and benefit from development and changes; Make Change Work stands for the Magna Carta of Women (MCW),because making change work for women necessitates strengthening the implementation of MCW. MCW is the comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination through recognition, protection, fulfillment and promotion of the rights of Filipino women, especially those belonging in the marginalized sector.