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DSWD joins the nation in celebrating Women’s Month, advocates safe spaces

In observance of the National Women’s Month celebration this March 2021, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will conduct various activities to advocate the rights of the women and girls, highlighted by the ceremonial kick-off on March 1 and the conduct of a national orientation for the Department’s personnel on the Safe Spaces Act or the Bawal Bastos Act.

The activity is in line with the celebration’s theme “We make Change work for Women,” with this year’s special focus on “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!”

The Safe Spaces Act of 2019 or Republic Act No. 11313 is a landmark legislation that aims to protect all individuals from sexual harassment in physical or online spaces.  Through the implementation of this law, the public is enjoined to work together and create a safe space for everyone.

Undersecretary Luzviminda C. Ilagan, DSWD-Gender and Development (GAD) Chairperson, shared that this year’s women’s month celebration is a reminder to continue upholding the strong and steadfast advocacy of advancing gender equality, strengthening the protection of women’s rights, and promoting women empowerment.

Undersecretary Ilagan added that the celebration also serves as a tribute to the many women who continue to provide services amid the threat of the pandemic.

Nationwide orientation on Bawal Bastos Act

Spearheaded by the Gender and Development Technical Working Group, the national orientation will be done via virtual forum with Atty. Twyla Rubin from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as resource person. Participants of the orientation will subsequently cascade the salient points to their colleagues in their respective workplaces as well as to their clients and program beneficiaries.

DSWD believes that creating safe spaces in the community and even inside individual homes is also key in the continuing fight against the effects of the pandemic, where all are still advised to go out only for important reasons.

Other advocacy activities

To start the celebration, the Department will hold a virtual kick off ceremony via Facebook live on March 1.

Moreover, as the Safe Spaces Act also mandated the establishment of a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) in offices, the Department also scheduled a Webinar on Women Survivors of Gender-Based Sexual Harassment to raise the awareness of the employees on CODI of DSWD.  The activity will ensure that employees will continue to provide efficient public service, and be mindful that their actions and always nurture a safe and respectful atmosphere.

DSWD also scheduled an online workshop entitled “MAPAbabae 2021: #ChooseToChallenge Gender Inequality in Open Mapping”, which shall be participated in by various organizations such as the GeoLadiesPH, MapBeks, Mental Health aWHEREness, and OpenStreetMap Philippines.  The workshop will provide competencies in mapping features, especially those that cater to the needs of the women and LGBTQ sectors.  It will also feature women who lead in mapping and responding in times of the pandemic.

The DSWD vows to continue to initiate activities that will enable women to develop their full potentials even amid the global health crisis. ###

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