Philippines: action plan for gender equality

published 12 February 2014 updated 11 March 2014

EI, together with one Swedish affiliate Lärarförbundet, organised an evaluation and planning meeting for its Philippine member organisations in Manila, Philippines, from 30 January until 1 February. Twenty participants, i.e. five women leaders from four EI affiliates in the Philippines - ACT, FFW, TOPPS and SMP-NATOW - took part in the event.

During 2013, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Women’s Network (AWN) undertook major research projects for the first time. In addition, the National Alliance of Teachers and Office Workers (SMP-NATOW) was instrumental in researching female teachers’ migration. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) was influential in reviewing gender bias in textbooks. The Teachers’ Organisation of the Philippine Public Sector (TOPPS) worked on the underrepresentation of women in decision making. And the Federation of Free Workers – Trade Federation VIII (FFW) assisted with the research on teachers’ migration issues along with the other research projects, as well as the Magna Carta of Women and Collective Bargaining.

Substantial work

During the meeting, EI’s2013–2015 Gender Equality Action Plan was presented by EI Coordinator Pathma Krishnan and followed by a presentation of research outputs by the four EI affiliates. EI, Lärarförbundet and Filipino affiliates revisited the planning matrix for 2014, concentrating on priorities, problems and challenges, and more importantly on successes. This was followed by group work on the reformulation of strategies and planning matrix, and the activities planned for 2014. The final draft of the planning matrix was later presented, along with the budget, for approval by EI and Lärarförbundet.

All present – EI, its affiliates and Lärarförbundet’s International Secretary Martin Carlstedt - were very impressed with the 2013 research work and discussed ways to use the research data to lobby governments to review gender-biased textbooks. The Department of Education has noted the data and views of the AWN Network and will contact the AWN network’s leaders with changes in the textbooks and curriculum. The affiliates were happy to note that, although they have different views, they worked together on all the issues and learnt a lot from each other.

Valuable and actionable information

“The aim of developing a doable action plan for 2014 was clearly achieved,” said Krishnan. “Participants were enthusiastic, encouraged by this valuable planning meeting. Data and information gathered will be useful for their individual union work, as well as for the AWN Network. Information gathered will be used for lobbying the government on important issues for teachers in the Philippines.”

She went on to stress that EI’s Philippine affiliates were concerned about the non-continuation of the ASEAN-AWN Project Committee meeting, held annually until now. The last of these meetings was held in December 2012 and, in 2013, EI member organisations were told that there was no budget for this meeting. Trade union leaders believe that ASEAN being an important area, it would be good to revive the ASEAN-AWN meeting to learn from each other in different regions and make a positive impact on teachers’ unions and their members.

EI: Input for Second World Women’s Conference

“We warmly welcome this meeting and our Philippine colleagues’ involvement in gender equality and ensuring access to quality education for boys and girls,” EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said. “We are sure that research undertaken and experiences shared from this part of Asia will be valuable inputs to feed discussions to be held at the second EI World Women’s Conference to be held in Dublin, Ireland, from 7-9 April.”