Vice President Leni Robredo served as the keynote speaker for SPARK’s (Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran) celebration of International Day of the Girl.
She shared her experiences as a lawyer for women in domestic violence charges and how their independence from men is key to empowering them. “Sometimes, the victims wouldn’t push through with the charges against their spouse or father because they are afraid they’ll have no one to support them.”
For her, it is important to teach girls about empowerment very early on and to give them the tools towards self-actualization and independence. She spoke fittingly to grade school and high school girls, representing different schools in Quezon City as the celebration was also graced by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The Vice-President also emphasized the need to understand gender equality across ages and sexes. “Gender equality is not about girls versus boys,” she said. “It is about making sure everyone has the same access to the same opportunities.”
After Robredo’s speech, clips from the movie Girl Rising were shown. The movie tells the stories of nine girls in different countries who are experiencing some form of oppression and how they plan to overcome it: from the child brides of Afghanistan to the girl laborers of Nepal.
In between, messages about the importance of girls’ rights were given by Phyllis Stinson, the Gender Equality Coordinator from the Political Section from the U.S. Embassy Manila, Rebecca Dixon, Gender Specialist from The Spanish Agency for International Development, and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely.
Since 2011, the International Day of the Girl has been observed every Oct. 11 through the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly to “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”
Photo courtesy of Leni Robredo’s Facebook page