Poe: Best way to advance women’s rights is to elect them to Congress
MANILA, Philippines— As the former chief of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Grace Poe knows whereof she speaks when she says there should be more women legislators to protect the rights of their sisters.
“When you put more women in Congress, you are making a stand against the bigoted view that women are mere sex objects, ‘pang-kama o pang-kusina’,” Poe said at a recent news conference in connection with Women’s Month.
Poe said a “male-dominated Congress” does not jibe with the growing phenomenon of more women entering the professional workplace and becoming breadwinners and heads of families.
To date, the Senate that Poe wants to join has only three women — re-electionist Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano and Miriam Santiago — out of 23 members.
The latest candidate preference surveys list four women candidates for senator who consistently join the top 12, namely Legarda, Poe, Nancy Binay and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar. Senate bets Jamby Madrigal and Risa Hontiveros are still inching their way into the magic circle.
But even if all women Senate candidates do win in the elections, the Senate would have only eight women at most, or one-third of the entire chamber.
Poe noted that in the House of Representatives, male congressmen outnumber women colleagues 216 to 66.
“Just a glance at the numbers would tell you, espousing pro-women bills could be tough. And yet if you look at our demography, the number of women earning income for their families has been growing at a tremendous pace,” she pointed out. “In this lopsided state, women should realize that the best avenue to ensure protection of their rights is to put more women in the legislature.”
Poe reminded women voters that while their interests “are best served by members of their own sex… in a male-dominated Congress, it is a sad fact that pro-women measures often-times do not get the needed support.”
The reproductive health (RH) measure for example, took more than a year to become a law despite Cayetano’s arguments that it was a pro-women bill as it was blocked by a handful of male senators.