Empowering Women to Make a Change | National Women's Month

Published on: 10/03/2021

Join in on the celebrations and be part of the advocacy for women empowerment as we celebrate National Women’s Month this March.

As we usher in the month of March, we recognize the role of women in society and join in the celebration of National Women's Month. 

In the Philippines, we also celebrate the first week of the month as Women’s Week and we acknowledge Women’s Role in History Month all throughout March.

2021: A Different Celebration

According to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), this year’s observance highlights the extraordinary roles of ordinary Juanas as trailblazers and harbingers of change. It is especially different from the previous years as it is set against the COVID-19 pandemic backdrop — a situation that posed both challenges and opportunities for women.

As such, the activities include discussions on women’s contribution in battling the pandemic and gender issues exacerbated by the coronavirus health crisis. The PCW also aims to share support systems and government programs that are geared to address women’s issues and concerns, particularly in this unique time of history.

More importantly, this year’s campaign continues to be a call for action towards gender equality — and in order for empowerment can be fully achieved, these actions need to be concrete, sustainable, and inclusive.

The Top Issues on Women’s Health

With this celebration, women’s health is among the primary concerns being highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health through the Life-course, cited 10 troubling women’s health issues around the world. Among these are: 

  • Cancer - Because around half a million women die from cervical cancer and another half a million from breast cancer each year, detection is key to keeping women alive and healthy. Furthermore, vaccination against the human papillomavirus needs to be widely implemented, especially in low and middle-income countries.
  • Reproductive Health - Responsible for one-third of health concerns for women aged 15-44 years old, sexual and reproductive health problems need to be addressed globally. Part of the solution is providing access to contraception services to women and girls, particularly in developing countries.
  • Maternal Health - While there have been massive improvements in pregnancy and childbirth care, some women still do not have access to family planning and basic services. In 2013, this resulted in 300,000 deaths in women who died from complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Mental Health - Studies suggest women are more likely to be at risk of anxiety, depression, and somatic complaints. Furthermore, suicide has been reported as a leading cause of death for women under the age of 60. By giving women the confidence to seek assistance, more can be done to address this problem. 

Along with these issues, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and sexually transmitted infections, violence against women, and other non-communicable diseases are also sources of widespread concern. 

What You Can Do?

For women, the celebration of International National Women’s Day should be a reminder to take better care of one’s health and overall well-being. It is also an opportune time to seek ways to inspire and empower yourself in order to become an agent of change in society.

Nevertheless, regardless of our gender, we all need to keep ourselves informed of women’s issues in order to take appropriate actions.  You can conduct an online search for women's organizations with activities and advocacies. 

Among these, the PCW, in partnership with the UN Women Philippines Programme Office, has launched their Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya! Online Forum Series this month with the aim to discuss the experiences of women in dealing with the pandemic and provide practical information that will be helpful to them.

To join in and help advocate for change, the PCW also enjoins us to wear anything purple on all the Mondays of March to express our support for women’s empowerment and gender equality.