September 23, 2023

So Amber Heard lost and her supporters in Twitter are quick to say it was a decision by a sexist jury. I think we need to use “sexist” with caution. It is a general term that concerns women and men. If Amber won, it could still be considered a sexist decision because both sexes could be victims or perpetrators of sexism.
This made me think about feminism and gender and development (GAD). I first assumed that feminism and GAD are the same. In one GAD seminar I attended about five years ago, the resource speaker presented The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 in New York City. The fire killed 146 people and most of them were young women who were overworked. The incident was since considered a pivotal moment in the struggle for women’s rights.
The speaker was not contented with that story. She went on to present sexist American advertisements during the 1960s, also called the ‘Mad Men Era.’ There were men participants in that seminar and I started feeling so uncomfortable. I noticed some of them just bowed their heads. I know some of them and I can attest that they are good fathers and good sons. When one of the men participants tried to diffuse the tense atmosphere by trying to make a joke, the speaker pointed a finger at him and said, “kaya makinig kayong mga lalaki dahil kayo ang dahilan ng paghihirap ng mga babae!” I was so shocked with that statement. It was so unfair and uncalled for. That’s when I began to think GAD is feminism.
The International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences categorized feminism as individualist and relational; social and hard-core or equity. Contemporary (feminist) movements are often categorized as liberal, socialist, or radical. The International Women’s Development Agency defined feminism as about levelling the playing field between genders, and ensuring that diverse women and girls have the same opportunities in life available to boys and men.
I credit BSU’s GAD Office and Human Resource Development Office for enlightening me that GAD is neither feminist nor androcentric. According to the Canadian International Development Agency, GAD uses gender mainstreaming as a strategy to look more comprehensively at the relationship between men and women in their access to and control over resources, decision making, and benefits and rewards within a particular system – it may be an organization, a government or an entire society. In other words, it means women and men working as partners for development.
So I ask fellow women not to smirk at women who choose to be, or by circumstance, are forced to be stay-at-home mothers. We all have roles to fulfill in this world. I read people in social media ask, “kung edukada ka, bakit stay-at-home mom ka lang?” or “ang babae hindi lang taga-alaga ng bata” and I thought I would give anything to bring back time so I could be a stay-at-home mom, an imperfect mom but at least a more present mom to my small kids. According to an article titled, “What Research Says About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom” by Apryl Duncan, studies have shown that kids raised by stay-at-home moms have improved school performance and showed less stress and aggression. The sacrifice, however, is that stay-at-home parents may have higher levels of sadness, depression, and anger.