Attended by over 100 participants from non-teaching personnel from the Division Office of the Department of Education – Schools Division of San Jose City, the Webinar on Gender and Development was held last December 1-2, 2020.
The webinar aimed at enhancing the level of awareness and promoting common understanding of GAD, mental health wellness through Kumustahan, and reviewing legal bases that promote gender equality.
As a major global strategy in achieving gender equality, gender and development mainstreaming or gender mainstreaming also aimed to achieve a gender-responsive society wherein both women and men contribute to and benefit from development equally.
With the world grappling with the pandemic, virtual meetings as part of the “new normal” as face-to-face meetings are no longer considered safe as we are adjusting to social distancing measures has started a trend.
In the said webinar, advocating looking out for ourselves and others in this pandemic was the topic of Ms. Liz Rillera-Astudillo, resource speaker for the said webinar. She explained that “Filipinx” is looking through gendered lens in the context of this uncertain times. Her presentation showed statistics from RGA Philippines 2020 indicating that both men and women reported feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Increasing cases on depression from different sectors in this time of pandemic had also been reported. Lastly, such restrictions prevented Filipinx from being creative.
Drawing interaction from virtual participants through Kamustahan, Ms. Astudillo quizzed about good vibes activities which were yielded answers such as biking, family time and health awareness from the group.
She also explained that this pandemic increased the care burden of women. In addition, women, compared to men, tend to have more access to information about COVID-19.
The second resource speaker, Atty. Ronald Lee C. Hortizuela, Chairman, Committee on Laws, Rules and Legal Matters of San Jose City, recognized the efforts of the private and public sectors in effecting equality for opportunities in both men and women specifically in the police, army and other similar institutions.
He went on to contrast the salient features of RA 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act to RA 7877 known as The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995. He expressed that the Safe Spaces Act is more comprehensive than the latter. He said, in part, “the Act recognizes the need for men and women, respectively, to equality, security and safety not only in private but public spaces such as, but not limited to streets, workplaces, training venues and online”.
He enumerated acts as cat-calling, whistling, homophobic and sexist slurs as offensive acts that warrant corresponding penalties. Atty. Hortizuela then proceeded to ask if there are specific places for where a victim may find protection and if there are conspicuous signages in schools which were answered in the affirmative as compliance to RA 11313.
In closing, Atty. Hortizuela added that if such acts were committed to any of the participants, the community, in this case, the Schools Division Office and schools within the division, should provide support and protection for the victim.
For the second day, teleconsultations were held by Dr. Mikee Fiel V.Soriano, MD III Dr. Ruel L. Romualdo, Dentist II for health and dental concerns of the webinar participants.
The two speakers were awarded certificates signed by the OIC-Schools Division Superintendent, Dr. Johanna N. Gervacio.