WHILE women may have been taking central roles in the pursuit of progressive agenda in politics, certain dynamics of society continue to allow men to “dominate.”
This was the observation of Ryan Dave Rayla, a political science professor of the University of San Jose-Recoletos.
“They are finding the need to protect themselves (from exploitation), by not only using the mechanisms of politics, but in the creation of policies that better serve their interest and overall well-being,” he said.
Rayla said several women have started to venture out of the “traditional, domestic” roles expected of them by participating in civil society organizations.
In 1995, there were more women voters than men yet they only occupied 11 percent of elected positions.
The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women attributed this to the stereotype that women should stay home and take care of children.
Threats of violence, though, may have hampered their full participation in a “man’s world” like politics.
Rayla said the need to have representation and to actually decide for their lives in terms of laws and policies may have also been a factor to the growing number of women joining elections or politics in nongovernment organizations.
Among the initiatives supported by women who are clamoring for change are laws on the protection of their rights and the measure seeking to legalize divorce in the Philippines.
“It’s unlike before that women were content on being a housewife. Women today are awakened by the reality that they must participate in the broader scope of society,” Rayla said.
He noted a shift in demographics with the younger population choosing to pursue careers outside of the domestic norm.
This, Rayla said, creates a social change in terms of how the youngsters view themselves as women.
As the world celebrates Women’s Month, Rayle said continuing efforts to educate people should be a paramount concern.
“What’s more important is to actually get them to realize that these are the realities they are living with and that’s when the civil society organization comes in as they are crucial for furthering the rights of women,” he added.
In Cebu City, the political scene is still dominated by men.
There are 19 members of the City Council, including Vice Mayor Michael Rama, but there are only three female legislators.
Of the 17 contenders for councilor in the north district during the May 13, 2019 polls, former Mabolo barangay captain Prisca Niña Mabatid and then Department of Social Welfare Services head Lea Japson were the only female aspirants.
They did not only win themselves a seat at the City Council, though, as Mabatid garnered the second highest number of votes with Japson coming in at fourth.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation Cebu City chapter is led by Barangay San Nicolas Proper youth chairperson Jessica Resch.
Resch was 21 years old when she was elected by her colleagues and assumed office as ex-officio member of the City Council in 2018.
Except for Resch, the only female officials of the SKF local chapter are Trisha de Castro of Pahina Central (auditor) and Sharmaine Maloloy-on of Mambaling (press relations officer).
In the barangay level, only 14 out of 80 village chiefs are female.
Barangays Binaliw, Lahug, Poblacion Pardo, Kamputhaw, Basak-Pardo, Kinasang-an, Tagba-o, Pulangbato, Bacayan, Busay, Kamagayan, Paril, Sambag 1 and San Roque are all served by women village chiefs.
Based on the data provided by the Barangay Affairs Office (BAO), most of the barangay councilors are men.
Since the records provided by the BAO only indicate 64 barangays, SunStar Cebu tentatively recorded 317 male and 131 female barangay councilors.
Barangays Talamban, Labangon, Adlaon, Binaliw, Bonbon, Buhisan, Lahug, Guba, Lusaran, Poblacion Pardo, Pung-ol Sibugay, Suba, Tisa, Santo Niño, Toong, and Pahina Central were not in the records provided by the BAO.
Meanwhile, Barangays San Nicolas, Sapangdaku, Sudlon 1, Pulangbato, Agsungot, Banilad, Cogon Ramos and Santa Cruz are dominated by women councilors.
Moreover, there are also barangays with an all-men council, such as Barangays Tejero, Pasil, Sawang Calero, Tagba-o, Sambag 2, Inayawan, Luz, Mabolo and Paril. (WBS, JJL)