Zonta Club of Cebu II kicks off 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women

In the Philippines, 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women is observed from 25 November through 12 December. Each year, the Zonta Club of Cebu II takes an active role in the 18 Days.

Honoring the theme “UNiTEd for a VAW-free Philippines,” the club will engage in several service, advocacy and information-generation activities that will allow women of all ages to make progress toward reaching gender equality.

Because education and open access to information is key to empowerment, the Zonta Club of Cebu II opened the campaign by inaugurating a Women, Gender and Family Studies Section at both the Cebu City and Mandaue City public libraries. This section is a repository of books, pamphlets, documents and other reading materials on women’s issues, gender mainstreaming, women’s legislative agenda, and methods and strategies to achieve gender equality in the workplace and the community. It is a vital resource center for women who seek to know more about their rights and the opportunities available to them.

“Saying no to violence against women is everybody’s business” is the strong over-arching message that Zonta Club of Cebu II is sending as it commemorates the worldwide global campaign to end gender-based violence. The club seeks to engage all sectors to unite and collaborate to actively fight against any or all forms of violence, discrimination and gender-based abuses and crimes.

In her welcome address, attorney Mae Elaine Bathan, Tourism Undersecretary and President of Zonta Club of Cebu II, stressed the importance of continued efforts to spread awareness of the rights of women and children. Atty. Bathan said. “The victims of these crimes, forms of discrimination and abuses do not have to fight their battles alone. “We are here to empower them. We are here to give them the necessary skills and knowledge. We are here to provide them the avenue by which they can be able to protect their rights and learn to stand up for themselves and say no to any and all forms of abuses,” she stressed.

On 25 November the campaign was launched with calls to action from three vigilant advocates. Ms. Emmeline Versoza, former executive director of the Philippine Commission on Women reported on the status of Filipino Women in the areas of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, political empowerment and the prevalence of violence against their persons. She stressed that

Ms. Annabelle Maglasang, coordinator, the University of the Philippines Cebu Gender and Development office, talked about Psycho-social Support to Persons who encountered Gender Based violence.

Attorney May Aguilar, the founding partner of Cavad and Aguilar Law firm, discussed the topic “Issues and Challenges That A Woman Face In VAWC: Strategies in Place for Action. She stressed that the only thing eviler than violence itself is our apathy.

The webinar ended with the Zontians taking oaths of commitment to continue their advocacy to campaign against gender-based violence.

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