In the 1970s when we were starting the women’s movement in the Philippines and in the ’80s when we created the Institute of Women’s Studies at St. Scholastica’s College (SSC), I cherished a dream that, one day, there would be gender mainstreaming in all schools in the country. I never thought that the dream would be realized in my lifetime.
Gender mainstreaming is a global strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any legislation, policy or program, according to the International Labor Organization. It is supposed to apply in any area and at all levels.
The schools that pioneered in gender mainstreaming saw the fruit of their labors in the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 01, 2015 to mainstream gender in all higher education institutions, private and public, nationwide.
Credit has to be given to CHEd Chair Patricia Licuanan, a feminist and one of the convenors of Beijing 95. Past male chairs did not think of it even though there was a law requiring that five percent of the budget of all government institutions, including educational institutions, had to be reserved for the empowerment of women (known as the GAD budget).
Credit also goes to lawyer Carmelita Yadao-Sison, head of CHEd’s Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System, who directed the whole process of formulating the CMO and organized educational summits and other meetings on the issue.
The CMO requires all higher education institutions (HEIs) to establish a GAD Focal Point System 90 days after its effectivity.
For private HEIs, the focal points will be responsible for the development and coordination of the institutional GAD programs. It has to maintain records of GAD programs, activities and projects.
As for public HEIs, they will establish a GAD database and submit a report on the status of GAD implementation.
The CMO identifies four main areas of the university that should be gender responsive: Administration, curriculum, research and extension programs.
The HEI administration should review policies, standards and guidelines 90 days from the date of the CMO’s effectivity.
The HEI’s GAD Focal Committee shall recommend appropriate measures to align institutional policies with GAD mandates and take immediate action to ensure full compliance.
As for curriculum, there should be gender-responsive curricular programs that prevent all forms of gender-based discrimination in the curriculum, research, extension, production and methods. Marketing and promotional materials should promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
All employees of HEIs shall undergo regular and continuing training. Adequate and accessible library and related learning materials across various disciplines and educational levels, as well as nonsexist textbooks, have to be produced. All documents and learning materials should use inclusive language.
Research programs should ensure researches complement the National Higher Education Research Agenda. Priority areas have to be defined and gender-specific researches have to be included. A GAD database should be institutionalized and an ethics board established. Incentives and other support structures should be provided.
Extension programs should be characterized by gender responsiveness across all disciplines, should contribute to the continued growth and development of the entire higher education sector and cover the principles of social protection and appropriate technology.
Priorities should include technology transfer, livelihood programs with financial literacy, technical assistance, advocacy and local and international linkages.
CHEd should recognize zonal/regional GAD Resource Centers that act as mentors to other educational institutions in their area that are just beginning gender mainstreaming. Accrediting associations, both public and private, will be required to include gender responsiveness in their evaluation criteria.
The CMO addresses the perennial problem of sexual harassment on campus. The entire process is detailed—from the lodging of the complaint to adjudication, as well as responsibilities of parties involved. The CMO establishes the accountability of HEIs in case of non-action or failure to resolve complaints.
Context of CMO 01
According to the Gender Gap Index (GGI), the Philippines is the only country in Asia-Pacific in the top 10 of the GGI, which measures women’s economic participation and opportunity, girls’ and women’s educational attainment, women’s political participation and empowerment and women’s health and survival.
In education, the Philippines registers a higher female (96.1 percent) than male (95.1 percent) basic literacy rate, according to a 2008 report of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda)).
The same report says functional literacy rate is higher for female (88.7 percent) than male (84.2 percent).
Women also show higher ability to communicate and comprehend (69 percent vs 63 percent).
While enrollment is equal for boys and girls in Science, Mathematics and Technology, more girls graduate, according to a 2012 CHEd report.
More boys enroll in Engineering but the number of graduates is the same for both sexes, the same CHEd report says.
The number of women graduates of Physics and Meteorology (weather forecasting) are also the same.
In public elementary and high schools, enrollment and completion rates for girls are higher than boys’ (school year 2010-2011).
In spite of these figures, Filipino women remain disempowered and impoverished.
They do not control family property and they have no decision-making rights on the use of income.
As of 2013, women accounted for only 37.5 percent of wage and salary workers in the country and only 49.8 percent of women, compared to 78.1 percent of men, were in paid work. Four of seven unpaid family workers were women (in family-operated ventures).
With the continued outflow of overseas contract workers, there are more and more poor women-headed households.
In 2010, CHEd institutionalized the GAD Focal Point in its national and regional offices. From 2011 to 2014, CHEd organized three Education Summits on Gender Issues.
The first summit in 2011, Call to Partnership, focused on creating gender sensitivity in CHEd regional offices and HEIs.
The 2012 summit was on Violence against Women on Campus and Mainstreaming GAD in the Curriculum. In 2014, focus was on Public Consultation on the CMO.
Before the third summit, in 2013, regional capacity-building sessions were held in all regions.
Three intensive workshops were held in 2014 to draft the CMO. There were consultations and group editing of the draft in CHEd regional offices in October and in HEIs in November.
Three educational institutions that pioneered in gender streaming helped with the workshops: SSC Institute of Women’s Studies, Miriam College Women and Gender Institute and University of the Philippines (UP) Center for Women’s Studies.
Experts from the Philippine Association of Gender and Development Advocates Inc., UP Los Baños Gender Resource Center and gender focals of Technological Institute of the Philippines and Philippine State College of Aeronautics also helped.
After the CHEd en banc approved in January CMO 01, 2015, public orientation meetings were held for HEIs and other stakeholders in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.
After the CMO was published in the Official Gazette on Aug. 8, it became effective two weeks later on Aug. 23.
A Technical Panel on Gender and Women Studies was created composed of the three pioneer schools (UP, Miriam and SSC), a representative of the Philippine Commission on Women, the president of the Women’s Studies Association of the Philippines and a representative of a Mindanao HEI (Marawi University).
The group reviewed proposed course offerings, research proposals, extension projects, gender-responsive curriculum and instructional plans. It also provided technical assistance.
The CMO is one of CHEd’s most significant actions and will be Licuanan’s long-remembered legacy. With the CMO, the Philippines is the only country in the world or the first to undertake and promulgate gender mainstreaming in the academe.
SOURCE: Philippine Daily Inquirer > newsinfo.inquirer.net/734618/gender-programs-to-be-mainstreamed-in-ph-academe