Join us in our Struggle for a Better Life
January 18, 2010
Dear Director Michelle Bachellet,
I would like to convey my warmest congratulation for taking the lead role of the first –ever United Nation Women agency. The creation of this institution and having you there is another victory for the global women’s movement.
I understand that the agency is still new and the problems face by women today is tremendously heavy. The world is in economic turmoil, joblessness is everywhere, prices of food and basic commodities increase in unprecedented rate. Violence against women in the forms of sexual, political and economic discrimination and exploitation intensifies.
Poor women especially in the developing countries such as the Philippines bear the brunt of these social maladies. Sadly, countries who want to rise above these problems where women fights for basic reforms are subjected to political repression and persecution.
I live in the Philippines, a tiny island in South East Asia inhabited by 94 million Filipino. My country is a paradise because of our beautiful beaches, bountiful marine resources, green mountains and fertile rice fields. We are famous of our warmth and hospitality that bring smiles and laughter to every passerby. Yet, the luster of our beauty is tinted with blood and miseries.
In my country, 22.6% are living below $1.00 a day and 51% or 9.4 million families said they are poor according to the WHO. The Fourth Quarter 2010 Social Weather Survey, fielded over November 27-30, 2010, found the proportion of families experiencing involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months is up to 18.1%, or an estimated 3.4 million families with 3 % increase from the 15% survey Sept 2010.
It is of intense hunger and poverty that we are forced to sell our bodies to men who want to take temporary pleasure from us even it is meant humiliation and social isolation.. We are lured to give in to cheap domestic servitude offered by foreign lands despite our hard earned college education. Unluckily, some of us went home cold inside sealed boxes to be welcomed and flooded by grieving tears by our loved ones.
It was never easy for us going through these ordeals. But we are doing this for our children and our families. We loved so much our families that we give everything for them. Being a mother, it’s always a hard choice between seeing your child crying and dying of hunger and leaving your child for a far away work that will feed them every single day. We are forced to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Poverty pushes us to be branded as mail order brides, modern day slaves of foreign countries and a destination of world sex tourism. Worse, we are called little brown fucking machines by US servicemen assigned in our country.
As for me, I opted to work for social change as human rights activist. I believe that women oppression and discrimination in my country is deeply rooted in our socio
economic and political structures. So long as our government continues adhering to globalization schemes of liberalization, privatization and deregulation we will be at very edge of our survival. As long as we are poor the problems of maid order brides, modern slaves, prostituted women and children will never come to an end .
We need structural change for a just social order and gender relations between men and women. Sadly, these violence and inequities are perpetuated by our very own government. Thus, only a strong people’s movement and a women’s movement can effect social change against the very forces that create gender and economic disparities.
I know from your personal experience Madame Michelle, that people who fights for basic change are met by brutalities of state’s military apparatuses. You are once a victim of such brutality. As an activist, I survived several attempts in my life. Many of my colleagues were killed, disappeared and arrested. Thousands of political activist were summarily executed since 2001 and 13-15% of whom were women activists according to the Center of Women Resources.
I believe this is what UN Women for. It is also your passion for social change and social justice that brought you in this organization bringing rays of light for us women in the South.
We, the women of the Philippines are fighting to end all forms of violence and discrimination. We want peace, justice, freedom and prosperity in our land. We ask you to join us and be with us in our struggle for a better life.
As a start, I would love to recommend the following:
1, Send delegation to visit our country and listen to us and to our children on the gender impact of economic devastation brought about by globalization, the environmental destruction caused by multi-national mining corporations and the human rights violations of the former Operation Freedom Watch and the present Operation Bayanihan.
2, For the delegation to look into the struggles of the Philippine women’s movement on our work for social change ; opposing violence against women and children, human rights violations and creating opportunities for economic survival and gender equality .
3. Establish close working ties with the grassroots women organizations in our country as an alternative channel in charting timely UN Women effective programs and services that will respond to our urgent and long term problems.
Realizing these, the UN Women can surely build lasting relations with the women’s movement here in the Philippines and to other countries in addressing the many issues and concerns confronting us.
Looking forward for a very fruitful year of work for women empowerment!
World Pulse Correspondent
As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale.
Learn more: http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/programs/international-violence-agai...