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Friday, February 18, 2005

A centenary of feminism

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."
by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
January 10, 2005, posted at www.thefreeman.com

Women struggle for the recognition of their human rights - political, economic, and including reproductive rights - has marked its centenary this year.

Women have already been fighting a hundred years, facing challenges that gave birth of the right to suffrage and or their participation in electoral politics, and the equal employment opportunities they are now enjoying amid a double-standard society.

It has been a hundred years of living the life, love and examples of Visayas’ Joan of Arc: Teresa “Nay Isa” Magbanua who went before us women in a revolutionary act that showcased a Filipina’s courage, patriotism, and military prowess. Nay Isa enlisted herself in the fight for Philippine independence when the 1899 Revolution spread in Iloilo, even though her move went against her husband’s wishes and — conventional wisdom.

2005 is the Centennial Year of the Feminist Movement in the Philippines.

This year’s celebration banners the theme: “Celebrating the past, inspiring the future” which is emblazoned in every feminist’s heart. The centenary celebration is coupled with the goal of recreating and rekindling a passionate love of our country, our people, and our culture by remembering and recognizing the vital role of Filipino women in history, and by reclaiming for the future our pride in women’s courage and creativity.

Delia Aguilar, associate professor of Women’s Studies and Comparative American Cultures at Washington State University and Bowling Green State University in one of her treatises wrote: “The Philippine women’s movement is currently considered one of the most vigorous in the developing world.

“Feminism calls for struggle against all forms of oppression, helps raise questions about national self-determination and then hits at the very core of our sense of ourselves as a people. The intertwining of these two motifs - feminism and the quest for national identity- constitutes the imperatives for the women’s movement in the country at the moment.

“Women formed groups, alliances, organizations, and/or federations in the earnest hope of achieving genuine independence and dismantling patriarchy. The women’s movement here has both established its presence and attained an autonomy that is rare in Third World nations.

“The proliferation of women’s organizations in the last few years, including the setting up of Women’s Studies programs, has brought to the public consciousness a range of issues heretofore unacknowledged, a primary one being domestic violence against women.

“It can no longer be said that the women’s movement simply obeys Party dictates, privileging the economic over the cultural or ideological. In fact it is in the realm of culture in which women have been most energetic and most passionate. The publication of books and journals, staging of plays, music composition, the visual arts, performances on radio and TV — in these the utilization of women’s talent, imagination, creativity and resources has been both remarkable and inspiring.”

Government and non-government organizations—the National Network of the Feminist Centennial in coordination with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Institute, the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, the Department of Local Governments, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Technological Sciences Development Authority—are the proponents of the centenary celebration of feminism this year.

Special events scheduled in 2005 include the NGOs’ celebration of the beginning of the centennial this month, a Testimonial Dinner for Women Heroes in February, Commemoration of the Plebiscite on Women’s Suffrage on April 30, a Feminist Centennial Gala Night on May 27, The Centennial Celebration of the Associacion Feminista Filipina on June 30, the All Women’s Bike Ride in July to be led by Sen. Pia Cayetano; Signing of Law on Women’s Suffrage on September 15, and the Launching of the Commemorative Stamp of the Centennial of the Feminist Movement in October.

The Turn-over/Dedication of Restored Gabaldon School Houses in Bulacan, Pangasinan, Iloilo and Baguio will take on various dates.

Festivals include International Women’s Film Festival at the University of the Philippines Film Institute in Quezon City in March, the Iloilo Feminist Centennial Festival in Iloilo City in October, the Women’s Short Film and Video Festival and Competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in November, and the Babaylan Culture and Arts Festival at the St. Scholastica’s College in Manila sometime December.

Conferences are to be supported by Women’s Book Fairs and Feminists Exhibits. These are the National Conference on Women and Work in May, National Conference on Gender-Fair Education in July, The Mars and Venus Dialogues: Young Women talk to Young Men about Women in August, Ilocano Women’s Conference on Feminism and Love of Country in September, Asia-Pacific Symposium on Media and Gender Issues in October, Asia-Pacific Youth Conference on Gender Issues-National Young Women’s Conference in November, and the International Babaylan Conference in December.

The centenary celebration will also hold exhibits and productions of CD recording like Awit Pangalim: Songs of Healing by Grace Nono with babaylans and healers, Dance Theater Order for Masks: A Multi-Media Piece based on the Poetry of Virginia Moreno by Myra Beltran, and a Dance Forum.

There will also be a drama musical on The Life of Teresa Magbanua by Ruby Azanza and Gantimpala Theatre Productions, travelling exhibit on The Grand Calling: Young Feminists of a Hundred Years by Ani de Leon and Lupon Inc.; an Essay-Writing Contest for Schools on the Importance of the Feminist Movement in the Philippines, an Open-air Concert featuring Empower: Young Women Celebrate the Feminist Centennial.

Video documentary would feature From Priestess to President: The Third Wave Documenting the Women’s Movement over 100 Years by the Women’s Media Circle; and a sampling of publications like Centennial Passages: Women’s Words across a Hundred Years, Women in Politics: Short biographies of women pioneers in electoral politics, The Story of Suffrage and Feminism as Counter-Memory: An alternative history, and Dear Daughter: Letters and Columns of a Half-Century.

More information may be obtained by joining Feministcentennialcebu at Yahoo Groups. Get in touch with the ministcentennialcebumoderator at .

For comments, reactions, suggestions, and contributions, crank up my addy: pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com.

12/06/2006 11:08:00 AM | Anonymous charlot said....   

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