MANILA, Philippines – The Thai government has cited Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo for her work in empowering women and pushing for gender equality.
Princess Maha Chakri Srinidon, representing her mother Queen Sirikit, conferred the “Honorary Outstanding Woman Award of the Year 2016” to Robredo late Monday afternoon, August 1, during the celebration of Thai Women’s Day at Nonthaburi Province.
It was Robredo's first official trip abroad as Vice President. The event was led by Thailand's National Council of Women and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Interior.
“It’s such an honor, not only to be an awardee, not only that I’m being recognized but I am here with you, seeing everyone here, seeing all the ASEAN countries being represented by women leaders, is enough message to everyone,” the Philippine leader said in an interview prior to the awarding ceremony.
“This gives us a message that Filipino women are being recognized not only in Thailand but also in the community of ASEAN nations,” she said.
A human rights lawyer prior to her stint as Camarines Sur Representative, Robredo has lawyered for battered wives in the grassroots, as well as marginalized sectors.
She championed the anti-discrimination bill in the 16th Congress, which aims to uphold gender equality as a member of the House Committee on Women and Gender Quality. She also filed the National Food Security Bill, which helps to alleviate poor mothers’ concerns on feeding their children.
Filipino women in a better place
According to the 2015 Global Gender Gap report, the Philippines was ranked 3rd in Asia and 17th worldwide in terms the influence of women in politics.
Photo from the Office of the Vice President
“Filipino women occupy a much better place now in our society than before. Our women leaders have been very active already,” Robredo said.
She also boasted of the country’s Magna Carta of Women, which ensures the protection of women from discrimination and other abuses. It also requires government offices to allocate 5% of its funds for gender development.
“This has been a very important weapon in making sure that the rural women in the grassroots are taught empowerment also but we have seen that the best way to empower rural women really is through economic empowerment,” Robredo said.
“[This ensures] that they have a chance at being economically independent and not just be dependent husbands,” Robredo added, noting that the government has yet to boost empowerment for women in the rural areas.