With the country marking Women’s Day, House Agriculture Committee Chair and ANAC-IP Rep. Jose T. Panganiban, Jr., is calling for the empowerment of indigenous women in food security and climate change adaptation efforts.
“Maraming maia-ambag ang indigenous women given their traditional role as carers and managers of their communities. It’s high time we tap their collective knowledge in crafting our policies on food security and climate change,” he said.
The solon said the Philippines should be guided by the suggestion given by the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations to make indigenous women a key part of policy-making.
The participation of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in policy-making is in fact one of the guarantees of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act, Panganiban said, and thus government should give an update on the law’s implementation.
“Women in rural communities in general, are tasked with taking care of families. Their contributions to the care economy should be measured because so far we lack data on their real impact to development.”
“Dahil na rin sa traditional nature ng indigenous communities natin kaya hindi sila nakakasama sa policy consultation, kaya dapat mas igtingan pa natin ang engagement sa grassroots level,” said Panganiban.
He also said that indigenous women’s insights on conservation and resource management, when coupled with research, could prove helpful in crafting strategies that are easy for small communities to adopt.
He also said it is crucial that disaggregated data on indigenous women should be collected, particularly on their participation in development.
“Ang mga kababaihan nating IP, as with women in rural communities in general, are tasked with taking care of families. Their contributions to the care economy should be measured because so far we lack data on their real impact to development,” he said.
“Indigenous women’s empowerment would entail providing them with support services and opportunities to expand their knowledge and earn sustainable livelihood.”
He added that unless the impact of women on the care economy is measured, government would not be able to properly gauge rural and IP development efforts.
“Mahalagang makita natin kung ano ang magiging epekto if IP and rural women are unable to fulfill their traditional roles in real terms. That way we can fine-tune our policies, kung kailangan ba na per family basis ang pagbigay ng suporta, for example, o kaya sa pag-encourage sa indigenous women na dumalo sa mga training program at iba pa,” he said.
Panganiban said that indigenous women’s empowerment would entail providing them with support services and opportunities to expand their knowledge and earn sustainable livelihood as many aspects of the care economy are unpaid work.
Full empowerment of indigenous women means that they are free to chart their own development with respect to their own unique traditions, the lawmaker also said.