CHR calls for equal pay, equal opportunities for rural women
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called for equal pay and opportunities for women in rural areas in commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women on Tuesday.
According to CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia, rural women are still prone to abuses especially in the Philippines, as many of them belong to the informal sector where there are less protection mechanisms.
“CHR acknowledges the huge contributions of women in rural areas in terms of economic and agricultural activities in the country […] But even if their share are important, they are still facing different kinds of discrimination and abuse,” De Guia said in a statement.
“Most of them belong to the informal sector of economy that’s why there are less mechanisms giving protection from various forms of abuses. Up to now, the regard for women’s labor capabilities remains low. The amount of work they put into farming and eventually selling their products are not always compensated properly,” she added.
The United Nations (UN) in December 2007 marked every October 15 as the International Day of Rural Women, as a recognition of the significance of these people in helping to usher development and food security.
This year’s theme, according to the UN website, is about Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience
The day also calls for more awareness on the challenges being faced by rural women, especially those in disaster prone areas like the Philippines.
“The high incidence of poverty in the provinces is a reality in the Philippines, that’s why women in those areas have limited access to various services like education, health, and livelihood. Women’s ownership of lands tilled by farmers is also seldom,” De Guia explained.
“Now that changes in the climate are becoming drastic, problems in the rural communities are being emphasized even more. They also need to adapt to the changes because it directly affects their food security,” she added.
At present, there are no laws in the country specific for rural women. However, other laws like Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women and R.A. 7607 or the Magna Carta for Small Farmers provide sections intended to uphold the rights of women and the youth in rural areas.
“We need to stress that women in rural areas have different needs than those in the urban areas, which the government should also attend to. Giving them knowledge and opportunities to step out of poverty should be a priority, along with solving issues affecting their communities,” De Guia noted. /muf
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