The National Women’s Month Celebration every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD).
The following issuances serve as legal bases for the annual activity:
- Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day;
- Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and
- Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.
In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed “all agencies, oversight bodies and local government units down to the barangay level to fully implement the Magna Carta of Women." This is to ensure that man and woman will be partners in the pursuit of the country’s economic, social, cultural and political developments. This pursuit of development under the new administration is also anchored on the commitment of “Malasakit at Pagbabago” or True Compassion and Real Change. Thus, the first National Women’s Month Celebration under the new leadership will focus on these key foundations: partnership for change and full implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act 9710), captured through the theme: "WE Make Change Work for Women."
Elements of the theme
- WE stands for Women’ Empowerment – empowering women enables them to confidently and meaningfully engage with appropriate institutions to ensure that they contribute to and benefit from development and changes. Thus, women’s empowerment will make the change that we are espousing or any development effort responsive of women’s concerns.
- Make Change Work = MCW = Magna Carta of Women – making change work for women necessitates strengthening the implementation of the MCW at all levels. It means putting in place functional mechanisms as well as implementing and making known to citizens, programs and services that address strategic gender needs of women.
- Change – also means Compassionate and Harmonized Actions and Networks for Gender Equality.
- We / us or “kami / tayo” in Filipino – who is going to pave the way for an enabling environment for women to be empowered? Who is going to ensure that the MCW is implemented at all levels? Who is going to make change work for women? It all of us, in our various capacities whether as government officials and employees, members of the private sector, the academe, non-government organizations, or as private individuals can be partners for a change that is gender-responsive. It emphasizes our collective effort, collaboration and participation to ensure that women will not be left behind in the pursuit of change.
The theme emphasizes that women should be active drivers in bringing about positive changes, and that they should also reap from development efforts. This can be made possible by empowering women – enabling them to meaningfully engage with other development stakeholders, and by fully implementing the MCW.
Consistent with Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988, the annual conduct of the National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) aims to give due recognition to the contributions of Filipino women in our society.
Specifically, 2017 celebration aims to:
- inform and engage women as stakeholders of government programs and services to promote citizen-centric governance and make “change” a conscious effort to know, understand, and provide what ALL citizens need;
2. create and facilitate platforms to discuss good practices, gaps, challenges, and commitments in pursuing gender and development (GAD) – to strengthen implementation of the Magna Carta of Women; and
3. inspire and empower women and girls to be agents of change – to contribute in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of all women.
All agencies, local government units (LGUs) and other instrumentalities of the government shall organize their own activities and other initiatives that contribute in the attainment of these objectives.
Informing and engaging women as stakeholders of government programs and services
1. Production and Distribution of IEC Materials (January to March 2017) – Section 26 of the Magna Carta of Women (Right to Information) also provides that “Access to information regarding policies on women, including programs, projects, and funding outlays that affect them, shall be ensured.” Interestingly, the Agenda Ni Juana Crowdsourcing survey during the 2016 Women’s Month show that the top 5 priority women’s agenda that people expect from the government is “Improved information dissemination on government programs and services for realizing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and their human rights” (chosen among the top five priority of 3,297 out of 8,005 survey participants).
In view of this mandate and the citizen’s expressed need for information, government agencies and LGUs are encouraged to produce and distribute their own information materials featuring their GAD programs and services that can be accessed by women stakeholders. Under the banner/theme “WE Make Change Work for Women”, agency/LGU IEC materials shall respond to the following key points:
• How does the agency/LGU make change work for women?
• What are the programs and services that can be accessed by women clients? Simplified steps/guide in accessing said programs and services.
• Results or most recent data on accomplishments (to showcase how citizens were able to benefit from the program).
Agencies and LGUs can follow their respective office’s branding or style guides in the development of their IEC materials, as long as these key points are presented. The IEC materials may be in the form of flyers, posters, comics, magazine/newsletter, printed materials, audio / video materials, or other format which they deem appropriate and economical. They may also opt to utilize various methods for dissemination such as through information caravan or tapping the broadcast, print and online media. It is also best to prepare the IEC in local languages or pop-version.
Tip for GAD Focal Point Systems: this is the time to make your agency GAD initiatives widely known! The key objective is for the government to address the demand for more information about their programs and services which is also consistent with the mandate for women’s right to information under the MCW.
2. Serbisyo Para kay Juana (March 8 or per discretion of sponsoring agency) – the activity enjoins agencies, LGUs and other organizations that offer direct services and other transactions with the public to offer treats like freebies, discounts, or distribution of IEC materials on March 8 which is the International Women’s Day (IWD) and any chosen dates within March, making the celebration more publicly known and felt.
Participating agencies/LGUs are also requested to send the following information about their IWD treats through the comments link below this webpage:
• Agency / LGU Name:
• IWD Treat:
• Date/s and time/s of availability:
• Venue (where to avail):
• Mechanics (how to avail):
• Contact details in case of public queries about the IWD treat:
Important note: only IWD treats that are offered to the public (i.e. stakeholders and clients) are acceptable under this activity category. PCW will prepare and release a list of all IWD treats submitted by the agencies / LGUs through the comments link below.