Friday, September 26, 2008

PGMA rallies women leaders to fight for women empowerment

PGMA rallies women leaders to fight for women empowerment

NEW YORK CITY---President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called today on all
women leaders to fight for women empowerment as well as pursue
justice, dignity and equality for women all over the world.

The President issued the call during the Women Leaders Forum hosted by
US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice this morning at the Waldorf
Astoria Hotel.

The President noted that even in better times, women were already
''double burdened'' as women and housewives.

And now, with the present global financial and economic crises, women
have ''triple burdens''---as single heads of households, lesser
healthcare and soaring prices of fuel and food, especially for the
poor women in the world.

''So as women leaders, we must be champions of women in this,
especially to those who are in need. It is now, more than ever, that
we need women's voices to be heard to fight for the rights and
opportunities of women, both in our respective nations and in the
whole world,'' the President said, as she batted strongly for the
candidacy of Sen. Miriam Santiago for a seat in the International
Court of Justice (ICJ).

''Add another great gain right here at the UN, if we continue to
secure a seat for a woman in the ICJ,'' the President said, adding
that the term of the woman presiding officer in the ICJ expires this year.

''If selected, we continue to have one. If not, then the women's voice
will not be represented in that very important court and that would be
a shame,'' she added.

At the same time, the President said women leaders must work to
cushion the impact of a ''sagging economy'' on poor women by pursuing
justice, dignity and equality.

The President stressed that the Philippines has made ''important
gains'' as far as gender parity is concerned, but ''more needs to be
done.''

She said one of the achievements of the Philippines under the
Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is gender parity.

The President said the Philippines has won recognition one among the
top six countries in the world, and the top-rated in Asia, in terms of
gender parity.

The Philippines is No. 1 in terms of literacy rate and Filipino women
have a slight edge in both simple and functional literacy over males.

The President was among four women heads of state who attended the
forum which was created in 2006 by Rice to ensure that issues
important to women -- such as education, political and economic
empowerment, and access to justice -- are treated as international
priorities.

The other women leaders at the forum were Chile President Michelle
Bachelet, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Finland
President Tarja Kaarina Holonen.

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