In partnership with the Austrian Embassy in Manila, SPARK observed the 16 Day Activism against Gender-based Violence through various activities which highlighted the structural inequalities that perpetuate VAW.
The campaign was launched on 25th of November during the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Senator Grace Poe was the guest speaker during the screening of Girl Rising and Women’s Rights Forum where she encouraged people, both men and women, to speak up and speak against gender-based violence. Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian, SPARK Trustee Ronna Reyes Sieh were also in attendance. The forum was held at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati.
After the screening, the regional Girl Rising mbassadors Katrina Bayog (Iloilo), Shamah Bulangis (Dumaguete), and Anwedda Navarra (Iligan) shared the work they contribute to the girls’ empowerment advocacy. Ms. Kate Alyzon Ramil, gender expert, who also shared her thoughts on VAW in the Philippines.
According to the United Nations, violence against women (VAW) is the most persistent and the most extreme form of discrimination. Achieving gender equality aids in preventing conflict and alleviating the number of cases of VAW. SPARK and Austrian Embassy in Manila aligned the theme on this year’s observance with the United Nations theme, Orange the World, Leave No One Behind: End violence against women and girls.
Throughout the 16 Day campaign, empowered women and gender advocates such as Senator Risa Hontiveros, Rags2Riches co-founder Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, UP Babaylan’s Vince Liban, and other women pledged to eliminate gender-based violence through mainstreaming gender equality.
Annually, December 10 serves as the International Human Rights Day, which also acts as the culminating event for the 16 Day campaign initially launched by UNiTE, United Nations Secretary General’s Campaign, which addresses gender-based violence. This year’s International Human Rights Day theme, “Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity” addresses the importance of achieving equality, justice, and freedom to prevent violence and preserve peace.
SPARK and Austrian Embassy in Manila partnered with the city of Taguig and Progressive Ladies League of the Philippines for the culminating activity of the 16 Day campaign. Mayor Lani Cayetano and 500 women from Taguig showed their support by participating in the “Break The Chain” Dance Against VAW, pioneered by One Billion Rising, a movement that demands to end all forms of exploitation on girls and women through solidarity.
As a result of the thrilling success that the partnership brought, SPARK and Austrian Embassy in Manila will continue its partnership for Women’s Month in March 2018 to celebrate the significant success of women in social, economic, cultural, and political spheres in achieving gender parity. It will also serve as platform for women to focus on the collective efforts and ownership to address gender issues and take action to eventually achieve gender equality in all facets of the society.