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gabriela women's party opens women's month with fashion exhibit against poverty, violence
Press Release Posted on March 6th, 2012.
Rep. Luz Ilagan 0920-9213221
Rep. Emmi de Jesus 0917-3221203
Gabriela Women’s Party kicks off the commemoration of Women’s Month with artistic expressions of women’s protest combined with passion for fashion.
“WOMEN FIGHT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE: A Fashion Exhibit Against Poverty and Violence” opens today, March 6 at the North Wing Lobby, House of Representatives. The outfits, designed and created by various protest artists like Ramona Dela Cruz – Gaston, Alex Umali and the Ugat Lahi Artists’ Collective in cooperation with GABRIELA Women’s Alliance represent issues that women face on a daily basis like oil price hike, poverty, job scarcity and inaccessible basic social services as well as the social ills brought about by US military intervention.
Joining Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus at the exhibit opening are Reps. Angel Amante-Matba (Chair, Committee on Women and Gender Equality) and Rep. Gina De Venecia (Association of Lady Legislators) and Joms Salvador (GABRIELA Deputy Secretary General). Ms. Cathy Untalan, Miss Earth Foundation Executive Director and Miss Earth Water 2006, along with Miss Earth 2011 title holders and 2012 candidates are expected to grace the occasion.
“March 8 is International Women’s Day. This tradition of protest dates back to 1908 when women workers took to the streets to demand wages, good working conditions and the right to suffrage. It is appropriate that we bring to the forefront marginalized women’s issues. The women’s cry for social justice still rings true today as it did 100 years ago,” said Ilagan.
De Jesus explained how poverty is depicted in “dumpsite” one of the exhibit creations. “Hunger and malnutrition are inevitable consequences of poverty. This is creatively represented by a gray gown embellished with poverty: plastic bottles, bottle caps, wrappers of canned sardines and instant noodles. Poor families can barely afford three square meals in a day amid the high prices of food and basic commodities. This situation worsens with the inaccessibility of services, especially health, education and housing.”
The lack of jobs, low wages, insecurity of tenure and migration are likewise depicted in two separate creations: “no vacancy” and “migrante”. A spray painted two piece worker’s suit sports “no vacancy” signs while a striped skirt represents the plight of jailed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Behind the black stripes is a collage of flags shaped to form a silhouette of a woman’s face.
“The lack of employment opportunities and low wages are forcing women and men to leave their children and expose themselves to situations vulnerable to abuse. Women need jobs and women need protection from abuse. This is the message that we want to bring across,” said Ilagan.
Other significant social issues brought to life in the exhibit include the inaccessibility of social services brought about by meager budgetary allocations for health services in “cuts”; the high prices of oil in “langis”, a gray ensemble with a bloody dextrose representing how oil companies bleed Filipino families dry; “landless” a brown gown representing rural poverty and haciendero domination and; “red war and blue”, two separate ensembles depicting the unrest, dangers and social ills brought about by US military intervention in the Philippines.
"Gabriela Women's Party seeks to raise the voices of the poor women in all possible ways. It is the women who sacrifice even their most personal needs in an effort to augment financial scarcity in the household. It is only just that we call attention to the Filipino women’s situation and echo the calls for poverty relief and significant reforms by repealing laws like the Oil Deregulation Law, EPIRA and EVAT and to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement. It is urgent that the Aquino Administration open opportunities for a better life to these families by creating national industries, distributing lands through genuine agrarian reform, and making basic social services accessible to the basic masses.”