Gender action plans and equality in schools, the Magna Carta for women, and gender based violence against teachers – these were the topics debated at the latest evaluation and planning meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Women’s Network (AWN)-Philippines.
Education International (EI) and Lärarförbundet, a Swedish affiliate, organised this meeting from 24-26 October in Manila. Twenty participants attended, five each from the following EI national affiliates: the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the Federation of Free Workers – Trade Federation VIII (FFW), the Teachers’ Organisation of the Philippine Public Sector (TOPPS), and the National Alliance of Teachers and Office Workers (SMP-NATOW).
Various speakers contributed to the event, including ACT General Secretary France Castro who outlined the Unite for Quality Education campaign events she attended in Canada and Belgium. SMP-NATOW General Secretary and EIAP Regional Committee member Milagros Ogalinda also reported on EI’s Second World Women’s Conference held in April in Dublin, Ireland. Both women underlined how attending and participating in international conferences had contributed to their professional growth, and inspired them and their unions to reach the AWN goals in their country.
Gender bias in textbooks
During the audit of union activities in 2014, where participants shared their successes, challenges and future plans, it was noted that all unions dedicated 10 per cent of dues received in 2014 to gender equality programmes, as required by their constitutions.
The network participants also listened to reports on gender bias in textbooks and the Magna Carta for women. On textbooks, the network’s efforts towards the Department of Education (DoE) will not cease and it will continue to pressure the DoE to end gender bias in these materials. Participants also acknowledged the need to further push for the implementation of the Magna Carta law.
Development of 2015 action plan
Participants also developed an action plan for 2015 based on the following priority areas: women’s under-representation in decision making bodies, gender sensitive textbooks, research on gender based violence against teachers, and national training for teachers on the Magna Carta and other labour laws.
Overall, the meeting was successful in achieving its aims to:
· Promote gender equality in unions, workplace and society
· Work towards achieving gender equality in leadership positions
· Increase women’s participation in decision making policy
· Be united and strong and work together in the network
EI: Boost for network’s aims
“I commend the participants at the evaluation and planning meeting of the AWN-Philippines meeting for their maturity and unity,” said EI Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator Pathma Krishnan. “They were extremely enthusiastic, and younger and new participants were very encouraged and excited at being a part of this network and about their ideas being incorporated into the 2015 action plan.”
The network will use valuable data and evidence to continue lobbying governments to source gender sensitive materials and achieve quality education in the Philippines. EI, Lärarförbundet, and EI affiliates in the Philippines are looking forward to continuing the network’s activities and research.