“Despite the pomp and supposed celebration of women power surrounding the 65th Miss Universe pageant, women here and abroad remain in their unglamorous and exploited state. At the same time, women are demonstrating women power against sexism and discrimination in hundreds of thousands on the streets.”
This was the statement of Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus as Miss Universe beauties pay today a courtesy visit to President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang and as women worldwide rise up against new US President Donald Trump.
De Jesus explained that women remain victims of sexist bullying, rape, harassment, gendered wage inequality, contractualization and poor health services.
“In the Philippines, 22 women and children are raped every day. Women workers remain concentrated in low-paying, contractual jobs. And mothers face rising budget pressure amid looming price hikes in basic commodities, power and water,” Rep. De Jesus said.
“Migrant women workers remain in slave-like jobs in several countries, with some brutally facing death like OFW Irma Jotojot who died in Saudi Arabia last year,” added De Jesus, who is vice chair of House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs.
Gabriela held a spoof pageant of Miss U at its Quezon City headquarters to highlight women' issues, featuring "Miss ENDO-nasya", "Miss Demolition Republic," and "Miss Saudi ArabYaya," among others.
The lady legislator also lamented that business interests, such as Philippine Airlines and SM Group of Companies, are banking on the world’s biggest women pageant to cover up their anti-women record.
“It’s ironic that PAL and SM are bannered in Miss Universe events when these are corporations that discriminate against women. PAL had pushed for compulsory retirement of old female flight attendants and discouraged marriage. SM is notorious for hiring thousands of underpaid contractual sales ladies for its retail business,” De Jesus said.
De Jesus said Gabriela views women empowerment in the real and comprehensive sense and not in merely patronizing women’s beauty and intellect onstage.
“Women can genuinely be empowered not in making them a spectacle for the crowd but in recognizing their vital role in the nation’s political, economic and cultural life,” she ended. #