The Department of Labor and Employment, through the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC), gave its utmost support in promoting gender mainstreaming during the conduct of the Senior Officials Conference on Gender Mainstreaming in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Sectoral Bodies on June 27 to 29, 2018 at Dusit Thani Manila.
The conference was organized by the Philippine Commission on Women and aims to increase the practice of gender mainstreaming in ASEAN sectoral bodies as a strategy to achieve ASEAN’s goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The activity was filled with lectures on gender and development policies, breakout sessions, and open forums.
Prior to the breakout sessions, Prof. Lourdesita Sobrevega Chan, Philippine Women’s Rights Representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, shared an important reminder from Dr. Sita Sumrit, Head of the ASEAN’s Poverty Eradication and Gender Division: “Gender equality is endemic. It is natural and not an add-on matter”. Prof. Chan also emphasized that women plays a major role in nation development and should not be left behind, as well as the other members of the vulnerable sector.
For the breakout session of the labor sector, BWSC Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla was assigned to be the facilitator. From the very beginning of the discussion, BWSC Director Trayvilla emphasized the importance of using gender lens in reviewing a policy prior to implementation.
“We should always take into account the gender lens when reviewing a document. Does the document address a gender issue? What provisions can be incorporated to ensure gender equality?” Director Trayvilla said.
The ASCC- Senior Labor Officials Meeting is composed of Apiwantanakul, Somsak from Thailand; Hnin Wint Phyu Phyu Ei from Myanmar; Ha Thiminhduc from Vietnam; Narath Choup from Cambodia; Maniboun, Oudone from Lao PDR; BWSC Director Trayvilla, Minnerva Ann Averilla, Jonnalyn Calipay, Renz Joseph Nucup, and Karen Dagnalan from the Philippines.
The group conducted an analysis on the challenges in implementing gender mainstreaming policies regarding labor and employment concerns such as the strengthening of social protection for workers, safety of migrant workers, and occupational safety and health.
Also, the participants were able to discuss the gender mainstreaming experiences from their respective countries, available methods and tools to mainstream gender equality in policies and projects, and the recommendations to mainstream a gender perspective in the plans and activities of the ASCC.