FORMER Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo emphasized the importance of addressing misogyny more vigorously at the school level, during her participation in a gender forum at UST.

At the “Girl Talk: The AScension of a Modern Filipino Hija” forum on April 6, Robredo said specific policies must be implemented in schools to help extinguish misogyny.

“Minsan, mayroong mistaken belief na subservient [ang babae sa lalaki] just because of the type of status; we shouldn’t allow that to happen,” she said. “Sa academic setting, there should be enough policies saka enough effort to make sure na nade-define ito.”

“Ang advice ko sa mga student leaders is to continuously look for ways to educate everyone…hindi lang kababaihan pero pati lalaki na alam niyo yung boundaries niyo,” she added.

Robredo, who established the Angat Buhay Foundation in 2022 shortly after her finishing second in the 2022 presidential election, shared with Thomasians her experiences with misogyny and the challenges posed by patriarchal society on women.

Reflecting on her time as vice president and a member of then-President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet, Robredo said society has often normalized women being the “butt of jokes” among men.

“Ang unfortunate reality is that because we’re women, we’re vulnerable. And that shouldn’t be the case. We’re vulnerable because men don’t value us.”

“Kailangan laging nasa consciousness natin ‘yun, that there are certain actions which we will not tolerate at all,” she said. “Kung merong disrespect, dapat walang excuse.”

Robredo was the only female candidate in the recent national elections, during which she had to contend with disinformation, negative messaging, and sexist remarks.

Despite significant progress in women’s empowerment in recent years, the former vice president acknowledged the need for continued efforts to combat gender stereotypes and bias.

To achieve this, Robredo emphasized the importance of women being able to “drown out the noise” and concentrate on engaging with the community to amplify each other’s voices.

“Maging active kayo (women) sa community para mapakinggan kayo. Kasi kapag may boses kayo, ‘yung mga naninilbihan mas mapre-pressure niyo. Pero kung hindi kayo iimik, kahit ano pwede niyang gawin kasi wala namang magrereklamo,” she said.

“Kapag namulat ka hindi ka na muling pipikit pa, kasi ‘yung empathy nasa iyo na gagawa at gagawa ka to make a difference,” she added.

She said gender sensitivity training must be made more accessible to the public.

“Dapat may intentional undoing, intentional unlearning (of misogyny). Paminsan-minsan kasi may kakulangan rin yung mga gender sensitivity trainings,” Robredo said.

“Maraming gender sensitivity trainings pero nakita ko, parang sobrang taas…parang very academic, parang sobrang cerebral–hindi dapat ganun,” she added. “Kailangan pag gumagawa ka ng training palagi mong ginagawa, gusto kong sabihin, parati mo ina-adjust siya sa experiences ng nag paparticipate…We think yung mga school organizations is a good avenue for that.”

The “Girl Talk: The Ascension of a Modern Filipina Hija” is a one-day forum organized by the UST Asian Studies Society.” Fernando Pierre Marcel B. dela Cruz with reports from Jenna Mariel A. Gonzales and Mikhail S. Orozco


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