SOFT POWER OF FEM­I­NIN­ITY NA­TION’S LAST CARD; PEO­PLE’S LAST HOPE

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

ANNABELLE T. LAXAMANA

Sex­ual Harass­ments, video scan­dals, bat­ter­ing or rough treat­ment clearly vi­o­late R.A 9710 “Magna Carta of women” a le­gal frame­work in pro­tect­ing women’s rights.

These heart pierc­ing in­ci­dents that any­one can ex­pe­ri­ence may stain in­no­cence or char­ac­ter brought neg­a­tive im­pact on her self-im­age that pre­vents from reaching her full po­ten­tial and self re­al­iza­tion. A strug­gling in­di­vid­ual who has full of hopes and am­bi­tion to be some­body may hin­der her promis­ing fu­ture be­cause of such ter­ri­ble and hor­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

For stu­dents, oth­ers may trans­fer in other school or worse will stop after her tear­ful and much pub­li­cized video or sit­u­a­tion. One who will be put in such case is one among twenty-five women age 15-45 who had sex ever ex­pe­ri­enced first sex­ual in­ter­course, ac­cord­ing to the 2013 Na­tional De­mo­graphic and Health Sur­vey.

An­chored on the Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals on its third thrust un­der­scores the de­vel­op­ment of gen­der equal­ity and women em­pow­er­ment. Women rep­re­sent half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and there­fore half of its po­ten­tial.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, in the Philip­pines, 13.6 per­cent of all 15-19 years old get preg­nant and al­most 4 in ev­ery 10 girls are al­ready or soon will be moth­ers. With­out enough ed­u­ca­tion, their fu­ture can be trashed and they may never re­al­ize their full po­ten­tial and self-worth.

A teenage girl is more likely to over­come hin­drances that stands be­tween her and a healthy, pro­duc­tive fu­ture if she has the au­thor­ity, the means, and the in­for­ma­tion to make her own de­ci­sion in life that will not only ben­e­fit her­self but also her fam­ily and com­mu­nity.

In­vest­ing in teenage girls in­clude their ed­u­ca­tion, health and their sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health that will help them re­ceive qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and achieve eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clud­ing those for de­cent work.

Ado­les­cent girls (10-19 years old) cur­rently make up 10% of the Philip­pines’100 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion. They hold bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to trans­form the fu­ture but this can only hap­pen if it starts from grass­roots to higher level.

Pub­lic sec­ondary schools should in­ten­sify the gen­der and de­vel­op­ment pro­grams first, by con­duct­ing sym­po­sium about gen­der sen­si­tiv­ity and Pos­i­tive Youth De­vel­op­ment.

Sec­ond, es­tab­lish strong com­mu­nity-part­ner­ship from school to DSWD, DOH, LGU and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies that will strengthen poli­cies and pro­grams which will em­power and ad­dress health is­sues like HIV, AIDS and cer­vi­cal can­cer. Like­wise, con­duct­ing coun­sel­ing ses­sions, group dy­nam­ics and other lit­er­acy pro­gram will be of great help.

Lastly, build a fam­ily at­mos­phere in school and pro­vide equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove women’s lead­er­ship ini­tia­tives in var­i­ous school projects.

To­gether let us em­brace the soft power of fem­i­nin­ity. There is strength in be­ing a girl. You save a girl and you save a gen­er­a­tion.

— oOo— I at San Pablo 2nd Na­tional High School The au­thor is Head Teacher

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