Leni Robredo —OVP PHOTO
On International Women’s Day, Vice President Leni Robredo offered three suggestions to help Filipino women make themselves “unbreakable”: Be economically independent, help other women and socialize after work.
“Economic empowerment is the first step to real empowerment. For every woman who becomes economically independent, the entire family has the chance to break free from abuse and poverty,” Robredo said in her keynote address on Friday at the International Women’s Day Summit 2019 in Taguig.
As a young women’s and human rights lawyer in Naga, Robredo recalled rescuing battered women from their violent partners, listening to them and working on their cases, only for them to go back to their abuser.
“They worry that they cannot feed their children if they leave their abusive relationships,” she said.
The Vice President highlighted her Angat Buhay program which provides livelihood assistance to those in the “farthest, poorest and smallest municipalities” in the country, such as the “tennun” weavers of Basilan.
She cited that the Yakan women’s dream of turning this cultural tradition into an industry has moved closer to reality with the help of private sponsors.
Robredo noted as well that for women to “become unbreakable,” it is imperative for them to help other women.
“Truly, we are each other’s better halves, or as they say, we are our sisters’ keepers. We are always stronger together. We may be pressed on every side, but we are never crushed.”
Robredo also hit the limiting mindset of some Filipinos that, she said, hinders the advancement of women in the country.
Why is it that working women who spend some time socializing after work are frowned upon when the men are not? she asked.
“Being judged as neglectful homemakers or bad mothers impact negatively on the psyche of women,” Robredo said. “Unconsciously, she starts thinking she is inferior to men,” the Vice President added.
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