Robredo: Gender Equality Not a "Soft" Issue
"Gender equality is not a "soft" issue that forms part of a footnote, because reality has shown that when women are heard more, societies thrive better," said Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo at a Women's Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. Robredo addressed members of parliament, members of the provincial legislature of Western Cape, councilors, and civil society activists.
In her speech she suggested ways to "reduce, if not remove, the oppressive conditions that threaten women," and eventually "nurture unique strengths so that they can occupy leadership positions and help build an inclusive world."
"We must take a closer look at the structures of organizations, and make fundamental changes if needed, so that we can create spaces for women to take on leadership roles," Robredo recommended. She cited South Africa's Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill that calls for "equal participation of women in the economy and in decision-making positions, both in public and private organizations, specifying that it should 50-50 representation."
She went on to say that "there should be a shift in the way we strengthen organizational structures, training designs, and mentoring activities of women organizations, and "to come up with a global effort to educate women around the world about their rights against abuse, especially emerging ones like second-generational bias and harassment on social media."
She concluded that "women in governance in particular are endowed with even more amazing skills. You sometimes choose not to speak, and yet affect the entire conversation. But when you do, you do it with power that includes rather than excludes, with foresight and depth."
The full speech can be found below.
Robredo was invited to South Africa by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). FNF organizes international dialogue programs to help leaders in developing countries by giving them the opportunity to meet and share best practices with officials from other countries such those in the European Union, and now also South Africa.