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PCW NMFO fosters basic GAD concepts, urges IOs to use gender-fair language

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–Noting the negative effects of gender bias among women, the Philippine Commission on Women North Mindanao Field Office (PCW NMFO) boosts its campaign on gender and development (GAD) by attending the Regional Association of Government Communicators (RAGCOM)-10 virtual leveling session, March 28.

“In support of the Women’s Month Celebration, we intentionally invited somebody from the Philippine Commission on Women to talk on the basic GAD concepts and gender-fair language,” Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-10 Regional Director Franklin Gumapon said.

Highlighting basic GAD concepts, Chief GAD Specialist Lawyer Khristine Kay Lazarito-Calingin said that with gender bias, women develop low self-esteem or have no confidence at all, they have no control over their bodies, they set low expectations of themselves, and they would feel that without a man, they are nothing.

She further said that in most measures of relative status—earnings, education, nutrition, and decision-making power—women are substantially disadvantaged compared to men, and the gaps are widening.

“Both men and women are working nowadays, especially sa urban area, daghan na babae and we might think, “okay ‘yan empowered ‘yung mga babae, and a lot are working and assertive,” but the reality, still, naa gihapon balance. Ipairal nato ‘yung shared responsibility, perhaps, sng maghalay ang husband, ang wife magluto” she added.

(Both men and women are working nowadays, especially in urban areas, where there are many women. We might think, “okay, women are empowered, and a lot are working and assertive,” but in reality, there still needs to be balance. Let’s implement shared responsibility; perhaps when the husband cooks, the wife cooks)

Thus, with the promotion of gender and development, Calingin said there will be a focus on people’s development, enhancement of the capacities of both women and men to contribute to the attainment of development goals, and reduction of social inequalities that stem from unequal gender relations.

“Gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when the different behaviors, aspirations, and needs of women and men are equally valued and favored,” Calingin said.

Mainstreaming gender-fair language

On pushing for gender equality, PCW NMFO Supervising GAD Specialist Hanzel Luke De Vera said it is important to be aware of sexism in language, understand the concern about sexist language, and learn how to avoid sexist language.

He said something is sexist if it leaves women out or makes them hard to see, if it makes women seem silly or small, or if it encourages unequal relationships between men and women.

“Gender fairness means recognizing that both women and men have stories to tell, hindi lang siya naka-focus into one (it is not just focused on one), and that impartiality also covers producing content that does not subject women to injustice,” he said.

De Vera added that it is also important to raise awareness about the impact of the content on men and women, and as much as possible, the stories to be created by the information officers should be uplifting and empowering.

To overcome challenges on gender issues, especially in the media, De Vera urged the information officers to use content that empowers, show non-derogatory portrayals of women, manifest balanced representation, avoid stereotypes, and use non-sexist language.

Over 30 information officers from the national line agencies and local government units participated in the virtual leveling session, and have also shared their insights and concerns on mainstreaming GAD in their respective offices. (RTP/PIA-10)

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