First things first - this book is about women and gender and its purpose is to showcase what has constituted working with women, girls, and LGBTQI individuals in the 12 critical areas flagged by the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. Behind the enormous heterogeneity of their concerns, this project grew from an unremitting desire to continue to uplift their condition and position. The University of the Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Oxfam Pilipinas, and the University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies Foundation, Inc. were invested in the production of this book because we believe in its value, offering as it does a multi-faceted understanding of the dynamic and contextual realities of the lives of the most marginalized and vulnerable
This engagement was not without complications and challenges. The imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and the work from home arrangements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented global health crisis and modern history, delayed the completion of this book to some extent. However, through this project, we learned about a collaborative, fertile, and insightful ground for academics, researchers, and practitioners who are as diverse as the women we studied. In this report, variegated voices and affiliations converged in a shared political commitment to sustain the momentum that began in the Fourth World Conference on Women in September, 1995. This reinforces our belief that it is an integrated and unified network of support and cooperation that will continually nourish our common vision of gender equality and gender justice to the next generation and beyond.
Every page of this book offers one gaze to recast the discourse in terms of what the Philippine government has accomplished in terms of its obligations under the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. Alternatively, the discussions in this book extend the boundaries that also reshape and define the contours of the individual and collective needs and interests of women, girls, and LGBTIQ individuals as well as the means of reframing and repositioning themselves in relation to others.
On a personal note, I am deeply humbled by the extent of the commitment and dedication of all the writers in this book. Through this engagement, I was also given a very rare up-close opportunity to work with the pillars of the feminist movement in the country, all of whom were part of my feminist education. Needless to say, i have learned from them first hand through their never-ending storytelling, writing, and action what it means to be a true gender advocate. I also wish to remember and give tribute to valiant and trailblazing feminists who are no longer with us - Josefa “Gigi” Francisco, Karina Constantino David, Mercedes “Mercy: Fabros, and Maureen “Mo” Pagaduan. Their invaluable contributions will remain a powerful source of guidance and inspiration, and they will live on in the work that we do.
The Philippine NGO Beijing+25 Report reveals that much remains to be done. As we move towards BPfA+30, we hope to draw attention to a critical piece of work that represents the voices of women, girls, and the LGBTIQ community.
by Excelsa C. Tongson