Right to Sustainable Livelihood and Social Protection

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


ILO defines social protection as a set of policies and programs such as labor market programs, social insurance, social equity, child protection and social assistance and welfare.[1] To many rural women organizations in PKKK in may be in the form of “damayan, paluwagan or aniban” or self help informal social protection schemes.[2]  In the last two years PKKK advocated for social services, support services and jobs instead of conditional cash transfer that the former and the new government promote.  [3]Further PKKK posits that social protection should be universal and not voluntary.

Three Focus Group Discussions among rural and indigenous women was conducted in Aurora and Nueva Ecija[4]. Household farm production is very low due to the small size of their farms.   The research reported that rural and indigenous household has diversified income sources to adapt to their situation.   Microfinance services such as ASKI, Joyful Business, MADECO and Producer are present.  Some members access Philhealth, SSS, SEA K and others.  Also, the economic and social services from the government are limited.

Limited access to land, high cost of farm inputs and low production endangers the food security in the household.  Because of changing food preference of young members of the household there is an increase expenditure on food.  Before they would eat rootcrops but now they prefer rice and processed food.

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Right to Environment

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


UN agency  reported that the Philippines ranks third in the world in terms of vulnerability to climate change.[1] The 24.32 percent disaster risk index puts more rural and indigenous women in vulnerable situations.

Disaster risks to rural women are results of environmental degradation.  CEC reported that only 3% of our original forest remains.[2] From 2000 to 2005, there are 1.98 %  of our forest that is lost annually.   Only 4% of our coral reef has excellent condition, most have severe condition.  Mining displaced indigenous peoples, depleted mineral resources and caused landslides.  More than 20 typhoons visit the Philippines annually.

Climate change impact affect rural women differentially according to Peralta.[3] Faced with disaster such as typhoons and droughts, women have lesser capacity to recover since they have fewer assets to sell. Also, more women than men fall into chronic indebtedness related to climate-induced crop failures since more women borrow. When food shortages arise from poor harvests linked to weather problems, women are the last to eat in their households.They prioritize the food needs of male household members and children over their own.

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Rural Women and Breaking the “Invisibility Cloak” of Women Farmers in the Philippines

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


The United Nations cited the important roles of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and reducing poverty in their communities. Rural women represent 70 percent of the agricultural workforce, comprising 43 percent of agricultural workers worldwide. The Food and Agriculture estimated that if rural women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent, lifting 100-150 million out of hunger. Furthermore, equal access to resources will raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4 percent, thereby contributing to both food security and economic growth.

CSI research shows that women in agriculture spend as much as eight to eleven hours a day in productive and reproductive work—i.e. acquiring capital for farming (usually through credit), carrying out planting activities, marketing the primary crop and backyard produce, and providing for their household’s daily survival needs. They spend from one to six hours daily for domestic work, which includes activities like preparing farm tools and food for farm laborers, fetching water, gardening, foraging, wood gathering, raising poultry and livestock, and other livelihood activities. During the off-season, the women in agriculture spend more time in domestic chores, as well as augmenting cash income and ensuring food for their households.

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Right to Health and Protection from Gender-Based Violence

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


The ratification of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), which is described as international bill of rights of women,  by the Philippine government implies its commitment to uphold gender equality and women’s empowerment and to eradicate whatever forms of discrimination exist in the Philippine setting, in all sectors and conditions including gender-based violence and health. And yet eradication of discrimination and biases against rural women remains elusive due to the following: (1) absence of national and local government support to provide the health needs of the people particularly the poor; and (2) inequality issues such as and cultural barriers, Catholic Church influence on the enactment of reproductive health bill; (3) and lack of gender-sensitivity and gender-responsiveness of local government units.

Many Filipinos, especially rural women are unable to access and use of health care. Compared with other Asian countries, health expenditure in the Philippines registered 3.8 percent which is way below the five percent standard set by the World Health Organization for developing countries. Our health sector is grossly underfunded by at least 40%, representing the cost of unmet needs of many of our people (ABI 2011).

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Representation and Participation of Rural Women in Governance and Implementation of Gender and Development

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


The Magna Carta of Women is framed in the context of CEDAW. It defines Gender and Development (GAD) as development perspective and process that are participatory and empowering, equitable, sustainable, free from violence, respectful of human rights, supportive of self determination and actualization of human potentials. It seeks to achieve gender equality as a fundamental value that should be reflected in development choices; seeks to transform society’s social, economic, and political structures and questions the validity of gender roles they ascribed to women and men; contends that women are active agents of development and not just passive recipients of development assistance; and stresses the need of women to organize themselves and participate in political processes to strengthen their legal rights.

There are several laws pro-actively promoting and protecting the rights of women. And yet, women’s important role and contribution in development and nation building are not yet fully recognized. Rural women are often treated at the sidelines. Their representation and participation in different local development councils and special bodies has been dismal. PKKK  cited several factors contributing to gender inequality in governance and participation: (1) the traditional notion that women’s role is always in the house, still proliferates in rural communities; (2) women commonly exhibit low confidence and self-esteem because the society considered them inferior in terms of decision-making, or being discouraged and prevented by their husbands or fathers from joining organizations or any political undertaking; (3) lack of information on CEDAW, law on gender equality, programs, resources and services not only of rural women but also local government officials and policy implementers; (4) men still dominate in the elective positions and leadership structure; (5) women’s participation in local elections are often impeded by traditional politics and  non-accreditation due to inconsistent processes/guidelines rigid requirements.

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Right to Basic Social Services

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


Women experience hunger differently from men.  Most of the times rural women prioritize male members of the family and children when there is little or not enough food.  Women comprise 30.1 % of the vulnerable groups who are experiencing chronic hunger in the Philippines.

PKKK study cited that women find ways to cope with hunger in the family by changing food preparation and diet intake of the family.

The composition of food of rural women varies from place to place.  In Samar, households eat Kamote, Palawan, gabi,  banana, rice, fish.  If rice is not available, rootcrops are used  alternative  source of carbohydrate during trying times. Home grown vegetables are also available.   They also have their ways of coping of eating.  They use salt, soy sauce, and cooking oil as viand.  There are instances that families go to sleep early because they have no food for dinner. 

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Rights of Women Fishers

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.


Magna Carta of Women or RA 9710 defines fisherfolk (women) as “those directly or indirectly engaged in taking, culturing, or processing fishery or aquatic resources. These include, but are not to be limited to, women engaged in fishing in municipal waters, costal and marine areas, women workers in commercial fishing and aquaculture, vendors and processors of fish and coastal products, and subsistence producers such as shell-gatherers, managers and producers of mangrove resources, and other related producers.”

The Magna Carta of Women is an important legislative milestone for women in the fisheries sector because it clearly defines and recognizes their marginalization in resource management and governance as a result of gender-based discrimination.  It also addresses and rectifies the common notion of fishing as a work of “men” that resulted in the continuing marginalization of women fishers.

Furthermore, women fishers are guaranteed specific rights and entitlements such as equal rights to utilize, manage, develop and benefit from fisheries and aquatic resources, equal opportunities for empowerment and participation in resource management, governance and other relevant economic activities.

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