| 05-07-2016

Implementation of women’s rights policies needed in the Philippines

Filipino women and girls face unequal access to education, employment, resources and social services according to a report presented at the 64th session of the CEDAW.

The status of women’s rights will be under review in the 64th session of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) this month. With the Philippines under scrutiny, FIAN International and its section in the country draw attention to the enduring inequality women and girls face in their daily lives, which ultimately leads to higher levels of hunger and malnutrition amongst the female population.

In a     report submitted to the CEDAW Committee, FIAN Philippines points to unequal access to education, employment, resources and social services for women and girls. Based on some findings collected in the last decades, they are often relegated to domestic roles and sacrifice their food intake for the sake of the well-being of other family members. With hunger being more prevalent in rural areas due to low income, lack of access to productive resources and vulnerability of the sector to various shocks related to climate change,  women, who make up 60% of the rural population, increasingly face poverty, so too their vulnerability to famine and health risks.

The report also echoes that one out of four pregnant women is nutritionally at risk. This has an implication for both mothers and the fetus, as many determinants of fetal growth are set before conception. While the importance of maternal health has gained more attention in the country in the last years, women are often prevented from accessing healthcare not only due to the lack of information, but also due to patriarchal practices. Access to modern healthcare is especially denied to many rural women and Indigenous Peoples (IP) living in remote areas due to lack of available health personnel, services and facilities, lack of financial means to pay for treatment and transportation to health centres, as well as discriminatory social norms.       
Among some recommendations, FIAN Philippines stresses the need for immediately passing the Right to Adequate Food (RTAF) Framework Bill, commonly known as the Zero Hunger Bill, which was filed in the Philippine Congress in February 2014. The RTAF Bill is a comprehensive measure that provides for an explicit guarantee of the right to adequate food and creates a legal framework based on human rights principles, including women’s rights, for addressing hunger.

More specifically, the State must make further efforts to guarantee equal and improved access to quality health services for Filipino women, including prenatal and postnatal care. The State should also protect women engaged in the informal economy by implementing all the provisions in Batas Kasambahay, the Domestic Workers Act.

Considering the impact of access to and control over land on people’s ability to feed themselves, FIAN International and its section also recommend the State to implement a land reform program that guarantees rural women’s equal access to land. This initiative could serve as a continuation of the recently expired national agrarian reform CARPER and ensure that thousands of male and female farmers do not remain landless.

You can download the report     here.
For more information, please contact     Slot-Tang[at]fian.org  
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