A haze of misconceptions obscures the topic of misogyny. Some define it as a deep hatred towards women and girls, while others view it as sexism caused by our society’s history of patriarchy.
On 30 November, the Zonta Club of Cebu II, Philippines, celebrated the 5th Day of its 18 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women with a webinar called “What Does Misogyny Look Like and Why Should We Care?”.
Zontian Marietta Malinao welcomed the audience with an empowering statement on the dangers of normalizing misogyny.
“The normalization and pervasiveness of sexism are apparent daily that people fail to notice,” Ms. Malinao said.
Resource speaker, Deputy Director for Research and Publication Center for Women and Gender Studies of the University of the Philippines (UP), Dr. Marby Villaceran, started her discussion through an interactive activity where participants gave three impressions on being a man and woman. Dr. Villaceran then discussed that sex and gender are two different concepts that are greatly interchanged. Society socializes men and women, boys and girls, to conform to assigned sex-characteristic roles and responsibilities.
“These contracts are unwritten, but they are generally understood an,d followed,” Dr. Villaceran added.
Women continuously experience discrimination, exploitation, marginalization, oppression, and subordination (DEMOS). Gender relations are hierarchal, and when accepted as the norm, it preserves the asymmetric power struggle. The efforts of the club and other various organizations advocating for women’s rights and empowerment have made progress towards reducing DEMOS. International instruments are actively coming together to put an end to these observances, namely the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPA), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (UPCWGS).
“Violence against women is the most egregious manifestation of women’s subordinate position in society,” Dr. Villaceran argues.
Violence Against Women (VAW) is gender-based and systematic, predominantly about male power and control over women. It is a key feature in patriarchy and abuse that takes many forms. In addition, rape culture is a manifestation of a patriarchal order maintained through violence against women.
As her talk ended, Dr. Villaceran presented the Gender and Development Program or Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act 9710). The program seeks to achieve gender equality and transform society’s social, economic, and political structures. Both men and women benefit from a perspective that does not limit them to be who they want to be.
The Misogyny webinar concluded with the sharing of personal experiences by Celine German Lagundi, one of the founders of Gabriella Youth of the University of San Carlos (USC), and Charlene Virlouvet, a performer from Vagina Monologues.
Women supporters and activists attended the webinar. District Governor Chavali Pamela “Pam” Osathanugrah was also in attendance.