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Pangandaman cites gains in women’s rights

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Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman at UN CSW68*

Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah “Mina” Pangandaman highlighted notable strides that the Philippines has gained in advancing women’s rights as she urged all women to make their voices louder to promote gender equality.

According to a press release, Secretary Pangandaman delivered the Philippines’ Statement at the General Discussion at the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) in New York City, USA, as the Head of the Philippine Delegation. She is likewise expected to lead the delegation’s engagement in the session’s activities.

CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This year’s CSW is chaired by the Philippines through H.E. Antonio Lagdameo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations.

“Upholding our commitment to gender-responsive governance and recognizing the intersectionality of issues they face in society, the Philippines has made significant strides in promoting the rights of women and girls from different sectors,” Pangandaman declared.

The Budget Secretary cited the enactment of the Magna Carta of Women, a comprehensive anti-discrimination and gender-equality law that was further operationalized and translated into meaningful and targeted outcomes through the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan 2019 to 2025.

In making the national budget gender-responsive, Secretary Pangandaman also shared that all government agencies have been allocating at least five percent of their budget to support programs and activities on GEWE since 1995.

A high percentage of Gender and Development (GAD) budget in relation to the total agency budget is one of the indicators of the depth of gender mainstreaming within the agency. It reflects that the agency is not only implementing direct GAD programs, activities, and projects (PAPs), but also actively integrating gender perspectives throughout its planning and programming processes.

“As a testament to our commitment to financing with a gender perspective, government agencies have been allocating at least five percent of their budget to support programs and activities on GEWE since 1995. In 2022, we spent an estimated 18.9 billion USD on gender programs,” Pangandaman said.

She likewise mentioned that the Philippine government has also mainstreamed gender into social protection initiatives through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and strengthens business skills of women through providing them access to business financing.

“We continue to strengthen our institutions and social protection programs to address women’s poverty. Our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a conditional cash transfer program with a budget that has exponentially increased from 5.37 million USD in 2008 to 1.9 billion USD this 2024, has benefitted 4.4 million Filipino households. Cash grants are given directly to mothers of eligible households, increasing their ability to invest in the well-being of their families, thereby improving the survival, health, and access to education of their children,” Pangandaman said.

The secretary likewise mentioned other initiatives dedicated to empowering women and upholding women and children’s rights such as the ongoing efforts to set up nationwide evacuation centers to cater to women and girls during disasters; the establishment of the Bangsamoro Women Commission, which integrates gender initiatives into the Bangsamoro Region’s Priority Agenda; and providing a venue for women in the public sector and civil society to join in the promotion of a gender-fair and open government.

“There is always more to be done to achieve a genuinely inclusive and gender-fair Philippines—and world. But this should only motivate us to continue to rise above the limitations we have experienced in the past and—in the true spirit of equality—make our voices even louder to achieve a future of empowered women and girls in a gender-equal world,” she concluded.

The session will run from March 11 to 22, with the priority theme, “Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of All Women and Girls by Addressing Poverty and Strengthening Institutions and Financing with a Gender Perspective.”*

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