March 21, 2023

Equality is everyone’s desire. We all want to have a fair share and role in our society. Hence, no man or woman should think he or she is greater or better.
The establishment of the gender and development (GAD) program reinforced equality among men and women. Public and government sectors or agencies are required to implement this program to ensure men and workers receive equal treatment and opportunities.
Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women defines the GAD program as the development perspective and process that is participatory and empowering, equitable, sustainable, free from violence, respectful of human rights, supportive of self-determination, and actualization of human potentials. It seeks to achieve gender equality as a fundamental value that should be reflected in development choices and contends that women are active agents of development, not just passive recipients of development.
In the olden times, women’s roles and social participation were very limited. They just stayed at home to take care of their children and do household chores. There was a lesser or no chance for them to avail of higher education. They were also deprived of the chance to govern or join the political arena.
Today, greater chances await women. They are free to educate themselves and venture into any job or career. Their value and contributions are already appreciated. They too are competitive and are assets.
Thanks to the various programs like GAD. It enlightened the minds of past leaders to allow women to spread their wings. Women today are no longer slaves of ignorance and inequity. We are witnesses to their blooming careers in the academe, medicine, politics, arts, business, judiciary, military, media, and sports.
Locally, Kalinga’s pride Maria “Whang-od” Oggay is distinguished as the last Kalinga “mambabatok” or tattoo artist. She is not just a great woman artist but also a promoter of the traditional art of tattooing.
We also have empowered women leaders in the education sector like former Department of Education regional director Ellen B. Donato and Regional Director Estela L. Cariño, former City Schools Division head Elma D. Donaal, and many more. They are admirable women for their exceptional leadership and valuable accomplishments that contributed to the welfare of teachers and students.
There are also women in elective posts, like councilors Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Mylen Yaranon, Lilia Fariñas, and former councilor Elaine Sembrano. This indicates women are also capable and dynamic as politicians.
In schools, gender equality is given emphasis. Programs, projects, and activities must be applicable to both boys and girls. There should be no discrimination to avoid learning gaps or issues. The conduct of seminars and Learning Action Cells for teachers will make them abreast and responsive to gender issues and concerns. This will ensure the success of GAD programs towards the absolute learning of students.
Hernandez and Cudiamat (2018) reiterate the gender-responsive teaching approach should be integrated into the classroom for gender equality and contribute to improving a learners’ academic performance.
There is a research conducted by Thessa A. Hernandez, et al. on the effects of gender-based differentiated instruction on the academic performance of grade 8 students in Filipino. Their data and findings prove thatthere is an improvement in students’ academic performance after using gender-based differentiated instruction.
Thus, it is highly recommended to apply gender-based differentiated instruction in the teaching-learning process. It helps the students to attain higher academic performance.
We should always consider gender equality is the greatest bridge that connects people toward peace, harmony, and victory. The three elements are essentials in the attainment of the target country’s development or improvement.
Celebrating Women’s Month is also a way to promote gender equality. Women deserve to be recognized as agents of change and development. They are partners of men towards the progress of our country. American Benedictine nun and author Joan Chittister said, “No submission. No second class. Women and men are equal agents in the enterprise of life”.
Happy Women’s Month! Continue to be the light and hope of your children, husband, and all who need your guidance and affection.