Posted by: nastypen | November 24, 2006

Something to be VERY Proud of

I type this right now as the boxer Manny Pacquiao, dubbed the People’s Champ (I call him Chump for pandering to the Palace’s publicity machinery), is met by a ticker tape parade, hailed by politicans all too eager to ride on the crest of his victory, waiting for him are millions of pesos worth of endorsements. Filipino pride swells as this man enters the capital triumphant.

But this is not about him.

Oh hell no.

I don’t pin my pride on organized violence.

Instead, I was just bouncing about the internet and saw this really interesting piece of news about gender equality. It’s from a Harvard study on gender equality regarding access to education and health for women all over the world.

Some excerpts:

Sweden has gone farthest in eliminating inequality between men and women, followed by Norway, Finland and Iceland. The Philippines is the only Asian country in the top 10 and the United States comes in at 22. Yemen ranks bottom.

The Philippines scored well across the board and is one of only five countries to have closed the gender gap for both health and education. The others are Dominican Republic, France, Honduras and Lesotho.

We are at the top ten?!?!?  We beat America?!?!? WAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That’s rich!

But I am so proud of this news. I can relate to how women are marginalized in societies. Yet, having grown up with strong women with character like my mother and sisters, I am beaming with joy on this assertion that the Philippines is not at all backward as many Filipinos tend to be defeatist about.

I was told by many a feminist friends that if you must be born an Asian woman, might as well be born a Filipina. In the Philippines, women have a say in politics and in society. They are not the quiet bit players lurking in the shadows. I ride with working women everyday at the trains to work. I deal with women students who are eager to learn and, most often than not, have to work doubly hard to have their presence felt in the arts. the fact that we educate our women is comforting. We don’t burn schools with women in the Philippines. Filipinos know only too well that it is education that can alleviate the country.

Sure, there are some elements of sexism and constrictions in our society. Basic example is how drivers scoff at female drivers for being slow and scared to navigate aggressively through the maddening traffic. (I hope there are statistics out there on the proportion of road-rage related deaths in the metro and who were involved. My money is on the neanderthalic males with licenses). The highest-selling magazine in the country is FHM. It’s considered a career move and a notch up to “mature roles” when actresses don a bikini/lingerie.

I’m not saying we’re better because we have a lady president. Oh please! Honey, it is not about gender that makes a good leader, it’s accountability, transparency and strength of resolve for progress pandering to nobody except for the citizens and NOT to politcal handlers.

Anyway, I digress.

But I know for a fact that tertiary institutions throughout the country generally have more women students than males. It is a growing trend that Filipino women are now being exported as workers abroad in a slightly larger frequency than men thus keeping the economy buoyant with revenues. Microfinance groups focus on the Filipino women because they know that these women, generally, would use wisely the amount money to benefit the family and not drink it away with the barkada in the corner sari-sari store.

Sure, there are the ugly realities that women earn less than their male counterparts. I know of an office that refuses to hire women because they are highly emotional and they will use “that time of the month” as an excuse to be absent. Violence against women is still very much present in the Philippines.

But I know that the Filipina has advantages over its Asian (and now Global) counterparts. We have pretty vocal political groups with notable female leaders. We have teachers who deal with stress and low pay but still stay to educate the next generation. We have public school teachers who have it worse and still guard the elections process despite harrassment from political thugs and red tape. We have working mothers who juggle motherhood, being a wife and a professional! I can’t do that! We have Filipina students who yearn to work abroad to help out the family.

I am generally appreciative that the Filipino culture taps women as partners (not necessarily co-equal partners in a lot of secotrs, but still…) to shape the nation. I salute the Filipina. I will not invoke beauty with brains (we have a lot of those, too) but I salute the Filipina who deftly works with certain limitations propagated by society and the economy yet still strive to be better.

Honey, no boxer can ever top that and I know that dealing with being marginalized is a tougher fight than a stupid boxing match.

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Responses

  1. Amen to that sister!

  2. ay, nandito ang husband ko! hehehe! naturally, the NGO practitioners will be commenting on this blog.

    but i agree with you completely, my love. we have come a long way in terms of promoting equality between men and women. one area of disappointment however is the low access to reproductive health services for the women and men. government does not have the will to approve House Bill 4110 because they do not have the guts to face the consequence of drawing the ire of the catholic church. for me, this is what’s hampering our contiuous growth as a country. a sound, responsive, holistic reproductive health program can actually interface with other livelihood/economic, environment, and health programs. ayaw lang talaga. hmph.


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