For this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day, Senator Risa Hontiveros asserted that women and the Filipino spirit of bayanihan are key to the country’s Covid-19 recovery.
The chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality said women’s empowerment and support was particularly needed during a health crisis, because, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70 percent of the health and social workforce is made up of women.
“Babae at bayanihan ang dapat maghari para tunay na makabangon ang pamilyang Pilipino. The pandemic only exacerbated the multiple burdens women already carry. If we want to wholly recover from this crisis, we need to band together to better support our women,” she said.
In a 2019 analysis, the WHO emphasized that investments in the health workforce could lead to women’s economic empowerment. For instance, while majority of healthcare workers are women, they earn, on average, 28 percent less than men.
“Karamihan ng ating health workers ay babae, hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas kundi sa buong mundo. Kung mapalakas natin ang benepisyo at suporta sa bawat isa sa kanila, mas agarang makakabangon ang buong mundo mula sa pandemya,” Hontiveros said.
The senator, along with other women senators, is set to file a bill for gender-responsive and inclusive protocols to address the gender-differentiated needs of women during Covid-19, and other public health concerns, emergencies and disasters.
“Ang krisis pangkalusugan at ekonomiya ay mas masosolusyunan kung gawin nating prayoridad ang ating kababaihan,” she said.
“Patong patong na ang bigat na dala ng ating mga babae — mga nanay, nars, guro, domestic workers, at marami pang iba. Akayin natin kami. Maging bayani tayo para sa isa’t isa,” Hontiveros said.