Women Paint Their Gender Issues In Search for Amelioration

Women in the city have been challenged to tackle the various hard social and other issues they encounter in their traditional roles and places in society.

This was the thrust of the assembly that some 100 key women sectoral leaders attended last March 21 as part of the Women’s Month celebration in Zamboanga City. The planning-workshop was organized by the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) in line with its social mobilization program through grassroot advocacies to be pursued by the sectors themselves.

In his welcome remarks, ZABIDA president Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF said there are still portions in society where women are at a disadvantage or are not participating enough. He challenged them to claim their rights through united action, which he said will give them the needed strength to resolve their issues and problems.

The theme of the celebration is “Juana Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga Sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa, Ikaw Na!”

The forum, held at the ZABIDA Peace and Resources Development Center, was attended by women leaders from several barangays in the city that have been involved in the good governance program of ZABIDA. Some of the barangay male officials also attended, as well as local and national government officers.

Katilingban para sa Kalambuan, Inc. (KKI) program coordinator Maisie Faith Dagapioso gave a talk about women’s rights advocacy, struggles, triumphs and challenges to set the stage for a workshop by the attendees. Albert Putong of Peace Advocates Zamboanga briefed them on the “psychology of colors” to prepare them to express their sentiments for advocacy through visual arts. ZABIDA’s Jannet Francisco facilitated the group workshops wherein the women discussed issues and concerns, which they later expressed in the form of visual sketches using oil paints.

City Hall’s coordinator for barangay affairs Violy Alejandro delivered the message of Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar, wherein she urged the city’s women to work together to make the city a safe place for their families. She also emphasized the importance of education for their children.

Department of Interior and Local Government city director Prof. Moh. Taha Arakama urged the women to fully utilize the five-percent allotment for women’s projects that are by law a part of the internal revenue allotments given to barangays.

In her closing remarks, Manos Unidas country coordinator Carolina Unzeta urged the women to utilize all the resources available to them to achieve their aspirations. “Your only limitation is your capacity to imagine and to creatively assert,” she said.

ZABIDA executive director Espie Hupida said the women’s assembly is the first in a series of similar sectoral advocacy planning-workshops that will be implemented by her office during the year. The other targeted marginalized sectors are farmers, indigenous peoples, youths, children, fisherfolks, and urban poor.

In their paintings on canvass provided them, the women used Nature’s elements like trees, sun, rainbow and the like as representations of their ideals, issues and aspirations. They gave emphases on family and community life as basic to collective security and prosperity.

Hupida said the paintings may later be put up for an exhibit along with the other sectors’ works as part of the advocacy campaign.(ZABIDA)

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