Indicating that more needs to be done to further gender equality around the world, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today called for an end to misogyny and gender-based persecution, especially by those who are in power.
In her International Women’s Day Message, De Lima underscored that in the Philippines, women are still attacked and persecuted because they dare to defend women’s rights and fight derogatory social norms wielded by oppressive societies.
“I have been unjustly detained for 1,109 days now. All over the world, many women human rights defenders like me continue to be oppressed and politically imprisoned for speaking truth to power,” she said.
“An increasing number of women parliamentarians like me are being subjected to misogynistic attacks by men in power,” she added.
De Lima has been arbitrarily detained and continues to receive misogynistic attacks by Mr. Duterte and his allies and avid supporters because she consistently opposed the brutal implementation of the administration’s all-out war on drugs.
International human rights community have noted how Mr. Duterte and his minions have not relented on their sexist remarks and vile personal attacks against De Lima.
However, De Lima’s continued unjust and illegal detention did not stop her from standing up for women’s rights in the Philippines. As Senator, she continued to promote empowerment of Filipino women.
“As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, I have filed bills and resolutions on protecting women in state custody, increasing age of sexual consent, ending child and forced marriage, increasing the number of women in the police force, and calling for an investigation into child cybersex crimes and rise in teenage pregnancies,” she said.
“I also supported the passage into law of an expanded maternity leave from 60 days to 105 days, as well as penalties for gender-based harassment in public places, including online spaces,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol also highlighted the United Nations theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” – a call to advance women’s rights to promote real and lasting gender equality around the world.
De Lima also commended the 25th year commemorating the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a gathering of nations in 1995 which committed to advance women’s rights and equality around the world.
“Despite the positive steps we have made in empowering women’s rights, a call for justice remains for all those who have been, and continue to be harassed, abused and vilified for being women of courage, conviction, and compassion,” she said.
“We must work together with full resolve to make gender equality beneficial not just to women and girls, but for all humankind. Our generation has the power to make this universal aspiration a reality,” she added. In this 18th Congress, De Lima has filed Senate Bill (SB) 378 protecting women in state custody, SB 622 increasing the age of consent to 18 to protect minors against rape and other forms of sexual exploitation, and SB 1147 increasing the hiring of more female police officers in the Philippine National Police.