Being a woman in a modern world

The United Nations had identified and declared a particular goal for sustainable development exclusive for gender equality, which we all know as well enshrined SDG 5. To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, all the members of the community must work together. While other people say it is far from realization, and the road to take to fully experience a gender-friendly and inclusive community is a long winding road, teachers and leaders shall find way to defy odds. We have been put in a biased context of being weak, being an object, and being a subject. Education is a powerful tool that we can utilize in transforming the society.

SDG 5 or making gender equality a reality by 2030 requires urgent action to eliminate the many root causes of discrimination that still curtail women’s rights in private and public spheres (Source: www.unwomen.org). Lamentably, there are 49 countries which still lack laws protecting women from domestic violence, while 39 countries bar equal inheritance rights for daughters and sons. Based on data from 87 countries, 1 in 5 women and girls under the age of 50 will have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months.

This is the primary reason why Education International (EI) and all of its women development, gender-based advocacy departments and groups are mobilized to respond to the challenges post by conventional communities and cultures. In response and in alignment of this principle, Education International Asia-Pacific Region conveyed strong and clear message to direct all of their efforts towards the promotion of women, girls and so with the LGBTI group. During the 8th EI Asia-Pacific Regional Conference held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 2018 October 8 to 11, teachers and union leaders from 27 countries crafted resolutions (women and LGBTI) which seek to improve conditions for everyone in education and at work regardless of gender contextualizing spectrum of human rights as inalienable rights for all.

Being a woman in a modern world is not an easy role. As reported, women do 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. We keep on learning so that we can keep teaching. We make night a day. We treat our students like our own children. We care.

Being a woman in a modern world is a challenge. We exert twice much of our own strength to keep going even things are uncertain and tough. We create our own opportunities when the male-dominated societies do not allow sharing these with us. Most of our women leaders mustered enough courage to question the status quo in leadership roles frequently and vastly occupied by men. These are the stories we often hear from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia where women had really endured struggles in making their role and importance to the society recognized.

Being a woman in a modern world is a blessing. The freedom of deciding for ourselves based on our own will because we are women is a reason to celebrate. In our hands lies the power of our collective minds to take more pro-active position in a turbulent world. Our dignity as human beings is our contribution to nation building and global peace.

Being a woman in a modern world of teaching is liberating. We use education to liberate learners from ignorance. We fuse our soul to our body to make them stronger and better. We use our words to inspire as these are more efficient and powerful than silence. We speak our mind. Women teachers and leaders do not just adapt to changes, we create them.

SDG 5 is within our reach. The ASEAN Women’s Network will be there wherever every woman will be. After all, the essence of being a woman in a modern world is being true to oneself and being the best that she can be!It took seven years of legislative debates for it to flap its wings and fly high! The Magna Carta of Women (MCW) started its evolution during the 12th Congress in 2002. After going through numerous debates and discussions, it was finally signed into law in 2009.