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MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo believes a society where men and women are treated equally begins at home.
How is household work viewed? Robredo called on parents to teach their own children the value of respecting women in a speech she delivered on Thursday, March 8, International Women’s Day.
The Vice President said society “is kinder to men than to women.”
The mother of 3 explained that in the average Filipino family, the men do the “lighter chores” while the women are expected to do more work housework even if they are also employed.
“Fathers can socialize for as long as they want after office hours. But mothers are expected to go home straight from work to do more work at home,” Robredo said at the Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Women’s Symposium.
“We cannot let this continue,” she added.
How should this be addressed? Robredo said the change in mindset begins within the family.
“We can change this by raising our children to treat women with respect and to be aware of the need for gender equality. Perhaps we can begin by teaching our young boys at home to wash their own clothes,” said the Vice President.
She then praised P&G’s #JuanWash campaign, which encourages men to do their share of the laundry at home.
Robredo said the campaign resonates with her because gender bias is still evident in the value people place on housework.
“Isn’t it true that while women who excel at work are celebrated, she is still expected to do the laundry, wash the dishes, clean the house, and take care of the children when she gets home? Stay at home mothers are considered less important than their spouses who bring home the bacon,” said Robredo.
For the Vice President, the work women do at home is even more difficult than office work.
“The truth is, the work done by our calloused fingers are definitely more taxing and taking care of children’s needs is infinitely more important than solving a corporate problem,” said Robredo.
“We seriously need to appreciate those hands that rock the cradle and wash the dishes,” she added.
Robredo is a longtime champion of women empowerment. Prior to entering public office, the lawyer did pro-bono work to help abused women in her hometown, Naga City.
She brought this advocacy to Congress when she was elected Camarines Sur 3rd District representative.
Women empowerment is also one of the pillars of Angat Buhay, the Vice President’s anti-poverty flagship program. The program links women across the nation with private companies and institutions, which then provide them with livelihood opportunities. – Rappler.com