Women’s role in Philippine society has been shaped, by and large, by the Filipina’s demand for social justice, equality, freedom and democracy. That yearning and her consequent struggle have had a long and glorious, albeit invisible, history.
Almost 400 years after she led a regional revolt against Spanish colonizers, Gabriela Silang remains a model, a beacon, and an icon to women of the Philippines. She was the seminal Filipina, leading long after her death her sisters to the struggle against social inequities and foreign domination.
In 1984, fuelled by the resistance against the Marcos dictatorship and an overwhelming need for significant economic and political change in the archipelago, women from all walks of life – worker, peasant, urban poor, indigenous, middle class, artist, religious – banded together to set up a national women’s coalition. They took the name of the 18th century woman general. They called their coalition GABRIELA.
Founded on October 28,2000, Gabriela Women’s Party is an offshoot of the biggest alliance of women’s organizations in the Philippines, GABRIELA.
Rich with experiences and lessons of having been at the forefront of the Philippine women’s movement in its over 20 years of existence, GABRIELA first joined the electoral arena in 2001 when it fielded then Secretary General, Liza Largoza Maza to run as partylist representative under Bayan Muna (People First) Party.
Following its successful foray in parliament with the passage of pro-women legislation including the anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act in the 12th Congress, Gabriela Women’s Party fielded its nominees in the 2004 national partylist elections for the first time. Gabriela Women’s Party emerged 7th of 66 parties, garnering enough votes to have Hon. Liza Maza serve as the sole women’s sectoral representative in the 13th Congress.
Proof of its exemplary performance it its continuing success in the electoral arena. Gabriela Women’s Party rose to 4th place in the 2007 partylist elections, reaping votes for not just one but for a second representative in the 14th Congress, Hon. Luzviminda Ilagan.
Today, with over 100,000 members in 15 regions in the Philippines and Filipino communities abroad, Gabriela Women’s Party through grassroots organizing, education, services, various campaigns and legislative efforts continues to advance the rights of women, children and country.