What National Women’s Month 2024 Means in The Philippines

National Women’s Month is a month-long international holiday that the Philippines celebrates to commemorate all kinds of women.

Womanhood is not limited to just single women or traditional mothers. They celebrate the three stages of womanhood—the maiden, the mother, and the crone—wherein, each stage emphasizes a virtue or challenge women face. On that same note, National Women’s Month in the Philippines commemorates all kinds of women; even if they don’t follow the stereotype.

For 2024, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) styles National Women’s Month by reprising the theme “WE for gender equality and inclusive society” to renew their commitment last 2023.

When did National Women’s Month start in the Philippines?

While the Philippines has a long history of women rising and taking the mantle when things got tough, its official recognition only started in 1988. The late former president Corazon S. Aquino—also the first woman president in the Philippines—signed the holiday into law as Proclamation no. 224, s. 1988.

Thus, the first week of March of every year was recognized as Women’s Week, while March 8 onwards was Women’s Rights and International Peace Day. This was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly on its 105th plenary meeting—held on December 16, 1977.

Aquino’s recognition of women’s “active struggle for national independence, for civil liberties, for equality of the sexes, and for human rights” then resulted in building the foundation for Proclamation No. 227, s. 1988—or simply, Women’s Role in History Month.

She rallied on, emphasizing how women played a “critical economic, cultural, political, and social role in every sphere of our nation’s life by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working in and outside of the home.” And so, from a day-long celebration, it became a month-long celebration.

Eventually, the proclamation turned into a full-fledged republic act to recognize one of the days of National Women’s Month as a working holiday. And so, we recognize March 8, or National Women’s Day as a “working special holiday.”

How the Philippines will celebrate National Women’s Month this 2024

This 2024, the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW) hopes to “narrow the gender gap” and will continue to do so until 2028. Their new slogan reads, “Lipunang Patas sa Bagong Pilipinas; Kakayahan ng Kababaihan, patutunayan!” which addresses the discrimination and biases against women as they seek more job opportunities. They are also celebrating the Magna Carta of Women’s 15th year.

Throughout March 2024, the Philippines will be listening to what every #JuanaSays—especially those who have contributed to narrowing the gap for women in the industries of finance, technoology, and education.

By shining the spotlight on society’s influential women, there’s hope for us as we work towards a future where #WEcanbeEquALL.

Recognizing women of all ages, in various industries

The image and experience of the typical Filipina have undergone various evolutions, welcoming women who have deviated from the traditional path. The term “She-EO” has become widely accepted, especially for women who stand at the helm of companies that contribute to the Philippines’ economic stability.

We also celebrate women who chose to preserve many of the Philippines’ dying arts. Case in point: renowned mambabatok Apo Whang-Od recently received the Presidential Medal of Merit to recognize her efforts to preserve the tattooing, thus inspiring other members of the Kalinga community and the Philippines to value and take up the art.

During the pandemic, several Filipino moms even banded together to start the FHMoms group to help fellow moms develop and update their skills to return to the workforce, or at least develop a career in freelancing to contribute to the house’s upkeep or to invest in their family’s future.

Melanie Marquez also recently received recognition as someone iconic with the Gintnog Dahon award for being a fashion icon by the Philippines LEAF Awards. Her daughter, Michelle Dee, also brought home an award as an emerging model.

Whether in fashion, finance, technology, or education, Filipinas have contributed much to society’s advancements.

Women empowering other women

While there are many witty quotes about how women run the show, the spotlight rarely shines on them. Besides the existing biases, there’s also a system that doesn’t offer much wiggle room for women who don’t have a good starting line to succeed.

As we celebrate National Women’s Month in the Philippines 2024, it’s time we collaborate with other women from all walks of life to recognize opportunities. With various technologies being invented, all we need to do now as women is to embrace the possibilities and potential these tools offer to make a more inclusive society.

Stories of strong women?

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All The World’s a Stage: Shining the Spotlight on the SB19 Moms

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