For this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day, Senator Risa Hontiveros has a message for men: “You should take part in the fight for women’s rights.”
Hontiveros made this call to challenge Filipino men to be more proactive in ensuring gender equality among men and women.
“Male privilege should be used one last time to provide a platform for issues surrounding women, then dismantled,” declared Hontiveros, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.
“Male privilege is also a structural issue, perpetuated by a system that keeps women oppressed,” she added.
At the same time, Hontiveros said that men should unlearn “toxic macho traits they have grown accustomed to for generations,” especially those that result in violence against women.
“Men need to unlearn this entitlement to women’s bodies, clothing and attention,” the Senator explained. “This entitlement results in pervasive gender-based abuses directed at women,” she further said.
“Sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape start with the thought of ownership over women,” Hontiveros explained, citing that in the Philippines, a woman is raped every hour while one in four women have experienced spousal violence.
“Kailangan I-acknowledge ng mga lalaki na prone sila sa mga traits na ito and yet they also have the power to stop themselves from exercising these traits,” the Senator said.
“Kaya ngayong araw, at sa mga araw na susunod pa, men must actively participate in women’s call for justice and equality. Sama sama tayo dito,” Hontiveros concluded./Stacy Ang