No act, even with noblest intentions, can justify the trivialization and objectification of women’s bodies.
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) strongly denounces the acts of a public official condoning the ridicule and mockery of women’s bodies. While the Commission agrees that public officials are expected to exhaust all efforts to discuss and promote issues of national interest, it should not be done in an offensive and distasteful manner, especially at the expense of women and girls.
The Magna Carta of Women (MCW) mandates the State, as the primary duty-bearer, to “refrain from discriminating against women and violating their rights; protect women against discrimination and from violation of their rights by private corporations, entities, and individuals; and promote and fulfill the rights of women in all spheres, including their rights to substantive equality and non-discrimination.”
It follows, therefore, that public officials are mandated to uphold the law and to respect, protect, and fulfill the equal rights of women and men, both as a moral and legal obligation.
Making fun of women’s bodies is not just irresponsible but clearly insensitive. It also negates our gains and efforts in mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Philippine government.
We reiterate that public officials and employees are bound to be “accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.” (R.A. 6713, Section 2)
Thus, we call on Assistant Secretary Uson to review the above provisions and revisit the Gender-Fair Media Guidebook issued by the Media and Gender Equality Committee, which is chaired by the PCOO.
Being in PCOO, she is in the best position to help change the prevailing norms of gender-based stereotypes and discrimination.
May her influence and network contribute to the best benefit of all citizens, regardless of political color and affiliation, and promote the true spirit of patriotism, gender justice, integrity, and democracy in the country.