Senate of the Philippines
Senator Loren Legarda today stressed on the role of women as silent but effective agents of change and leaders of society at the gathering of women in Cavite for the first anniversary of the Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng General Trias.
"The role of women in our society has continuously evolved through the years. However, more women participating in decision-making, whether within the family, the community, or the nation, does not mean they are already considered equal to men. For instance, in times of disaster and economic stress, women are the primary caregivers. They also carry out much of the household workload after a disaster," she said.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted that women and girls account for 52% of the world's population and over 100 million of which are affected by disasters annually. They have distinct nutritional needs that make coping with disasters tougher and harsher.
"Despite these, women have been silently and effectively at the frontline of disaster prevention and climate change adaptation efforts," she stressed.
Legarda cited several environmental and disaster risk redection programs initiated by women in the Philippines, such as the women farmers in Montalban, Rizal who practice agroforestry to adapt to the prolonged wet season; a group of women fisherfolk in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur who reforested over a hundred hectares of mangrove areas to protect their settlements from storm surges; and the women of San Francisco in Camotes Island, Cebu, who are in charge of environmental protection and disaster prevention programs in each and every purok.
"I am certain that the women of General Trias are also active participants in the local initiatives to protect the environment, such as the municipal-wide clean-up drive and the use of "eco-bags," instead of plastic. These are important steps in making our communities safe against disaster risks," she said.
"Women around the world and here in the Philippines are silently making their invaluable contribution to society. It is time to usher a new phase where women and girls are no longer portrayed as victims but heroes," Legarda concluded.