Gender Equality and Women’s Rights

Ms. Nafis Sadik is surrounded by Mr. Bart W. Edes and Ms. Ursula Shaefer from the Asian Development Bank in Manila with over forty individuals in the audience. The topic is Health and Reproductive Health for Asia and the Pacific. It is about gender equality, women empowerment, reproductive health in the Philippines, myths and knowledge. Since 1980, the developing countries are already following the family planning methods while the Philippines, because of its cultural background and resistance to change is still using the natural method. Ms. Sadik as an activist worked with United Nations said that “the battle never seems to end, like a zombie in a horror movie.”

Gender is not related to infrastructure that are being built nor are there many mistaken idea with regards to women. Discrimination is always around us whether it’s about the color of our skin, our button like nose or even education and not only about race but also in gender. Women seem powerless in some organizations. The government need to realize that women are the one who are giving birth, getting pregnant, must be given an integrated program before the start of puberty to menopausal stage and must be a lifelong concept. Today, the age of power or knowledge is different. In Africa, some ten years olds are already getting married while in Asia, the age of women getting married is getting younger.

The maternal death mortality is also different for every nation. One death from every eight individuals in Africa while one death for every 144,000 individuals from a developing country. The difference might be knowledge and tools from the government, population, economic status or human rights. According to Ms. Nadik, Maternal Deaths are preventable. Twenty million women die with a lack of knowledge but with an available reproductive health program, human rights and help from the government, deaths can be avoided and can be prevented. Reproductive Health information doesn’t reached the women outside marriage, adolescent and poor women in a rural areas and because of these, there is a high mortality deaths in Asia.

How valuable is a woman’s life? This is a question where it is not only applicable in this third class country but all over the world. It is about life. The technology is there, resources can get somewhere only with political will reform in underdeveloped countries such as the Philippines. According to her, “Family is the basis of society and both women and men should have the same benefits.” This is about gender equality. Rural women who have an ample knowledge do not share the same fortune with women’s who are living in urban poor. There’s a big gap like discrimination in work for employment, age, status and here’s a large number of women who are malnourished. But women comes a long way in terms of political issue in South Asia like the Philippines, with women in power and with political positions.

Though there are many myths about women because of discrimination like in farming, its men’s work only and women are mostly staying in the house which is an old practice. Ms. Nadik wants to encourage the Asian Development Bank to focus about gender equality to help the women to succeed and be empowered. Time to take serious because women’s concerns are valid, must also be included in every planning process and might change the society. Infrastructure is not only for men. there are women engineers, architects and carpenters now. The government must consider this as women always play a vital role in the society.

“Reproductive Health is not only for the poor but for everyone” says Ana Santos. It’s so happened that majority of the population is poor and don’t have a quick or available access to the needs like knowledge, medical facilities, capacities and capability to pay for their medicines. This is where the government must give the Reproductive Health to all women. This is by means of passing the bill in which the Philippines is pushing right now to become a law. Ms. Nadik is an advocate and activist with guts to go around the world to spread the good news and encourage everyone about gender equality. The forum took only a couple of hours but gives empowerment to all women who attended together wt the men in their suit and