We are already on our second female head of state, and for some people that may be enough to say we have achieved gender equality. We can also point out that the female participation in the labor force is quite high; one business advisory firm says as well that 85 percent of local companies have women in senior positions. Girls are even doing better in school, and have higher retention rates than the boys.
Yet this is a country where far too many people continue to view gender issues as trivial, leading to the flouting of laws and rules that are supposed to ensure the rights of women. There is still little sharing of tasks between the sexes at home, with women getting the most of the burden (but usually receiving no thank-you’s). And while women may have reached positions of power in the workplace, their paychecks have yet to match those of their male counterparts.
In the Bible, Eve came from Adam’s ribs. The Pinoy version of the creation of human beings, however, had Malakas and Maganda emerging at the same time from a bamboo split in half. We do seem to have higher regard for women than peoples of several other countries till now, but why does it seem like we have wound up quite far away from that nice arrangement that was so apparent with Malakas and Maganda?
And so beginning this week and throughout the rest of August, i Report will focus on the gender that appears to have gotten the short end of the bamboo stick. But just to show how far the Pinay can go despite any odds stacked against her, we open with a profile of a woman who has already lived a life so full, yet has still to call it quits.
We have also lined up a piece on the Filipina through the decades, a look at laws affecting women, and that certain time of the month and its impact on the environment. There will be discussions on dads and daughters, as well as on mothers and sons. We will talk about sex and what Pinoy men look for in their women. And the lone male in the PCIJ office will weigh in on how it is to be swimming in seas of estrogen at work and at home (he spawned pretty little beings who have no Y chromosomes).
This is not our version of “Oprah,” but it sure is going to be all about Eba.