Advocates for Women’s Rights: Oxfam and Partners Call for a Just and Equal Future

Oxfam Pilipinas recently and partner organizations gathered at Eastwood City Mall in Quezon City to highlight the importance of addressing inequalities faced by women and girls for a just, inclusive, and sustainable future in celebration of National Women’s Month.

The event, called “Babae ang Bukas: Women’s Conversations,” aimed to amplify women’s voices and showcase their contributions to social development and nation building. Representatives from civil society organizations, the Philippine Commission on Women, and the private sector participated in the event to advocate for the advancement of women’s rights.

The panel discussion focused on the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work that women and girls in the Philippines face, preventing them from pursuing education, income-generating activities, and participating in decision-making. The conversation also emphasized the need for gender-responsive and inclusive policies that ensure access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and information for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.

Oxfam Pilipinas Ambassador for Resilience Antoinette Taus cited the strong links between climate change and gender justice.

“Women and girls are among the hardest hit by the impacts of the climate crisis. When disaster strikes, their workload in terms of care work such as collecting water increase tremendously,” Taus said.

“We need a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health. While there is a proposed national policy in addressing adolescent pregnancy, there is much to be done in terms of influencing policymakers to ensure its universality and gender-responsiveness,” Oxfam Pilipinas Executive Director Erika Geronimo added.

.The event also highlighted the links between climate change and gender justice, with discussions centering on how women and girls are among the hardest hit by the impacts of the climate crisis, particularly in terms of their increased workload in care work during disaster situations.

In addition, the panel underscored the importance of women’s participation and leadership in peacebuilding and social healing, as well as the need for collaboration between the government and civil society organizations to expand women’s role in conflict transformation and ensure the protection of human rights in conflict situations.

The event ended with performances from Armi Millare, Aia de Leon, Maimai Cantillano, and Talahib People’s Music. Hosted by Antoinette Taus and Mich Dulce, the “Babae ang Bukas: Women’s Conversations” event was attended by various civil society and women’s rights organizations.