While many Filipino women have broken barriers in different fields globally, it’s a different game when it comes to politics.
Filipino women leaders have to fight for their seat at the table in the government. Only about 23% of current elected officials are women. In the Senate alone, only seven out of 24 senators are female.
In 2021, the Philippines ranked 17th among 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap report of the World Economic Forum. The lower the number, the nearer to closing the gap.
Among the factors considered in the ranking is political empowerment, where the Philippines ranked only 33rd. This is because women occupy only 28% of the seats in Congress and about 13% hold ministerial positions.
Although the Philippines is making some headway in terms of the number of women in politics, gender advocate and journalist Ana Santos says we also have to look at what these women that we elect are bringing to the table.
“Are they true to the vision of gender equality that we want for the country? Are they reflective of the needs of diverse women?” she asks.
Can women leaders redefine the 2022 elections?
Various female politicians are vying for different government positions in the 2022 elections. But the number of women running for office is overwhelmingly muted by the number of male politicians seeking power.
In the presidency and vice presidency, the lone female candidates in their respective race are Vice President Leni Robredo and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
In the senatorial race, only 8 out of 64 candidates are female.
Will women-centric agenda be at the forefront of governance after the elections because of female politicians?
“You cannot automatically assume that because this person is a woman, they will be an advocate for women-centric issues or for issues that will promote gender equality,” Santos says.
Why are candidates – male or female – with a women-centric agenda important?
Watch this video explainer. – Nick Villavecer/Rappler.com