Dr. Edna Tormon-Bernabe, News, EMO Extension Coordinator
Addressing the primary concern on Gender Equality as Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 set by the United Nations in 2015, the Office of the Vice President for Research, Extension, Planning and Development (OVPREPD) through the Extension Management Office (EMO) has successfully culminated the first EMO face-to-face, three-day workshop titled “Promoting Gender Sensitivity in Extension Communication” held last March 29-31, 2023.
Women’s rights champion and primary advocate on gender equality Senator Risa N. Hontiveros graced the occasion as she addressed the 289 combined PUP audience from Claro M. Recto Hall and via zoom. The honorable senator was also joined by another icon of marginalized peoples’ welfare, human rights lawyer Attorney Lorna Patajo-Kapunan. The workshop proper was led by Rappler Multi-Media Reporter and university part-time lecturer on Broadcast Journalism Jairo DC Bolledo. Plaques of appreciation were awarded to the esteemed guests.
The general objective of the workshop is to improve the participants’ knowledge of gender equality and address gender sensitivity through proper communication skills. Assistant to the Vice President for Research, Extension, Planning and Development, Dr. Angelina E. Borican, imparted some inspiring thoughts on gender-fair concepts and thanked all the people behind the conduct of the workshop.
Sen. Risa on establishing a more gender-sensitive PUP
“Gender sensitivity is about recognizing the existence of diverse perspectives and experiences through empathy and respect across all genders. It is a paramount concern that learning institutions like PUP must holistically address so that students of different ages as well as the faculty and employees will get to embrace the welcoming idea of respect for identities and individualities. The university as a learning institution is where people from different orientations must always feel safe, secure, and free from prejudice and discrimination,” Senator Hontiveros emphasized in her speech during the opening of the capability building activity.
She also reminded the audience that recognizing and practicing gender sensitivity should start from the simple, daily interpersonal discourse. This is also a realization for faculty extensionists, community development workers and other community organizers to be more sensitive, understanding, and empathic to the sensitivities of their beneficiaries. Gender sensitivity should manifest in the day-to-day discussions of people who use fair language and who recognize the power of words to inspire and to feel loved, and not to humiliate and to feel hated.
Before addressing the 114 official participants from the different colleges, branches, and campuses, and the 155 audiences from Zoom, the senator had a pleasant meeting with the members of the Executive Committee headed by President Manuel M. Muhi and other Execom members VP for Academic Affairs Emanuel C. De Guzman, VP for Research, Extension, Planning and Development Anna Ruby P. Gapasin, VP for Student Affairs and Services Tomas O. Testor and Executive Vice President Alberto C. Guillo.
Atty. Lorna on the legal aspect of gender discrimination
Meanwhile, another icon of women’s empowerment and a strong advocate of human rights, Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan had a very lively discussion as she entertained the audience with her combined wit and brilliance in imparting knowledge on gender-sensitive legal terms. Attorney Kapunan stressed that language matters and gender-discriminatory words are not innocent.
“How people express themselves in discussions would determine if they are non-discriminatory or non-prejudicial. Patriarchy, conditioning, and masculinity are some of the cultural practices that had a harmful downside, as women had become the object of harassment and abuse,” Atty. Kapunan stated.
She provided insightful knowledge of the old laws as against the new ones and why people should not lose hope as laws are evolving and can continuously be studied. Toward the end of her talk, Attorney Kapunan provided a list of words with terminologies that would aid the participants in their quest for improved writing and expression through gender-fair language.
Jairo Bolledo on pronouns and their impact
Day 2 of the ECBA had been busy and active as the whole day was dedicated to the lecture and some workshops from the 3rd resource speaker, Rappler correspondent Jairo Bolledo. Mr. Bolledo imparted an inspiring discussion on gender equality, gender equity, and justice. The young correspondent also emphasized that “pronouns”, contrary to others who believe that they are “nothing”, really matter.
The young and dynamic journalist shared various words and terms that would improve the participants’ skills in gender-sensitive communication. The highlight of day 2 was the conduct of the different activities which elicited great involvement from the participants.
Solidarity and commitment
The 3rd day of the capability-building activity had become more special with the Solidarity Messages of the officials from the Philippine Commission on Women. The PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary Yuzon-Chavez cited that equality and inclusivity must be afforded to women as agents of change in society, emphasizing support from all entities on equal opportunities for women, and continuously providing women the safety and protection in the digital space.
PCW Deputy Executive Director Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes on the other hand, expressed her great concern for gender and development by stating the disparity among genders, especially among women and Women’s Month should have been the avenue to “reflect and reassess the remaining gaps to be filled to achieve the equality and women empowerment in all sectors of the society”.
Lastly, the Extension Management Director Rolan J. Malvar delivered the closing remarks and extended great appreciation for the enormous insights that the resource speakers had imparted. The director also gave heartfelt thanks to the EMO Chiefs and Cluster Coordinators as organizers of the activity, and the participants from the PUP colleges, campuses, and branches across Luzon.
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