LETTER TO EDITOR: Sexism in the Committee of Appointments procedures

Opinion & Analysis Philippines May 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Dear Editor,

The recent misogynist attacks on Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Secretary Gina Lopez by the Philippine Commission of Appointments are alarming signs of institutional sexism.

The Committee’s questioning of Secretary Taguiwalo’s marital status implies that unmarried mothers have no right to participate in public life. It is insulting to an individual who has dedicated her life to advancing the rights of women, prioritized ending corruption and consistently acted in the interest of marginalized communities.

The Committee’s failure to confirm Secretary Lopez to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources after raising ‘controversial policies, and alleged incompetence and being weird or eccentric’ is at complete odds with Secretary Lopez’s distinguished career as an environmental activist who has confronted powerful extractive industries, in a country where women are suffering from the environmental devastation caused by mining industry.

These malicious and sexist attacks serve the purpose of protecting the interests of powerful corporations over local communities, and are indicative of political systems designed to advance the interests of a few powerful men and the ruling elite.

There are only 18%1  women in political leadership positions across the region and it is quite rare for them to represent the interests of people, particularly women. Secretaries Taguiwalo and Lopez are the leaders we deserve and need, but attacks like these create an atmosphere that deter them from leadership positions.

Kate Lappin
Regional Coordinator
Asia Pacific Forum On Women Law And Development (APWLD)
189/3 Changklan Road, Amphoe Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand