Today on International Working Women’s Day (2023), we march together with women from various sectors, including labor unions, human rights organizations, to call for equal rights and opportunities for Filipino women. Today’s women’s march also aims to raise awareness and demand action about issues such as violence against women, sexual harassment, and the need for better working conditions.
IWWD is not only about celebrating the achievements and struggles of women in the workplace, but also about recognizing the vital role that women play in agriculture and rural development.
Women farmers in the Philippines make up a significant percentage of the agricultural workforce. They contribute to the country’s food security and economic growth through their work as farmers, farm workers, and small entrepreneurs.They work long hours, often in difficult conditions, to cultivate crops, raise livestock, and manage the land.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, women make up 39% of the agricultural workforce in the country. They are involved in various activities in the agriculture sector, such as planting, harvesting, livestock raising, and food processing.
Despite their important contribution to the economy, women farmers often face various challenges, including lack access to land, credit, and other resources. They also face discrimination and gender-based violence, which can limit their ability to participate fully in agricultural activities and decision-making. They also endure state-sponsored violence and rights violations.
Today, women farmers from the Bagsakan Farmers Market share their experiences and raise awareness about the issues they face. Women farmers of San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan continue to struggle against the landgrabbing perpetrated by the Araneta family and other tycoons Ramon Ang, Villar and Ayalas in more than 700-hectares of productive agricultural land in SJDM. They remain determined in the face of militarization and constant harassment from state forces and private security of landgrabbers.
We recognize the important contributions of women farmers to the country’s agricultural sector and the need to address the challenges they face. We celebrate the IWWD as a constant reminder that the Filipino women’s place is always in the struggle.
We issue this call to action for individuals, organizations, and the government to work towards creating a more equal society where women can fully participate and thrive. By promoting gender equality and empowering women in agriculture, the country can work towards a more sustainable and inclusive future. ###
Images from AMIHAN and SINAGBAYAN.