PHILIPPINE Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, September 5, challenged the public to do more in terms of promoting gender equality, noting that there are still “subtle acts” of discrimination that should be focused on to achieve true equality.
“Since the #MeToo Movement, and due to the watchfulness of the ‘woke’ generation, so many things have already happened to generate awareness of over biases and outright abuses committed against women,” she said during the Toronto Global Forum in Ontario, Canada.
“But we need to do more and shine a spotlight, especially on the more subtle acts of discrimination, because they are more insidious. If we commit to this goal today, we have a fighting chance,” she added.
Robredo is a staunch advocate of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) equality bill, a proposed anti-discrimination measure for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The bill, which has been filed in both chambers of Congress, seeks to give equal access to employment, education, and social services to LGBT community members as well as ban the promotion and encouragement of stigma on the basis of SOGIE in the media, educational textbooks, and other mediums.
According to Robredo, attaining equality is not easy in some societies where favoring masculinity is firmly established in the culture.
“But we need to commit to it because gender inclusion is not just about advancing women’s rights and empowering half of the world. Gender inclusion is, at its very core, about sustaining the whole world. When women survive, and find their path to a truly great life, the world thrives. And the ultimate expression of that is how economies are strengthened when women are empowered,” Robredo added.
The vice president also gave clarification that women empowerment should not equate to a battle of the sexes, where females are pitted against men and the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.
“It’s about creating real partnerships. It’s about acknowledging each gender’s strengths, and creating a synergy where both genders build each other, rather than put each other down. It is about bringing everyone together, starting with the people in this hall, so we can create a better world,” she said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday, September 4, expressed opposition against the SOGIE bill.
“We are 101 percent in support of protecting the rights of Filipinos in the LGBTQIA+ community. We will not allow them to be hated, discriminated, bullied, or inflicted with harm,” said PNP Police Community Relations director Maj. Gen. Bong Durana during a Senate hearing into the SOGIE bill.
“You would see that while it prevents discrimination against our LGBTQIA+ community, it in effect discriminates the rest of the people who are straight like me. And so I think while we respect our LGBTQIA+ community, we don’t promote that in the Philippine National Police,” he added.