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theWeeklySillimanian | January 30, 2021

“This is not for women. You know, the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here. So… that is the sad story,” said President Duterte referring to the presidential duties. This might deem to be offensive, but this is not the first time Duterte has expressed sexist and misogynistic remarks—although his office typically regards them as harmless jokes.  He is known to be blunt and bold. With his crass humor, millions of Filipinos, more often than not, see him as the “real politician, walang halong ka-plastikan,” topped with his “father figure” emanation to his country.

While others tend to overlook it, this insensitive remark is not something that we can take lightly. It reflects the patriarchal mindset that continues to perpetuate in this society, more specifically in politics. Women are as competent as men, even better at times. 

Cristina Palabay of Karapatan emphasized that women are as capable as men in any job. 

“What matters most especially when we talk of the presidency and public office is if the interests of the poor majority are upheld.”

Meanwhile, Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, the 39-year-old prime minister of New Zealand, is regarded as one of the best country leaders in the COVID-19 response. 

In a study released by the Australian think tank Lowy Institute, New Zealand topped the list in pandemic response index with a score of 94.4, followed by our neighboring countries Vietnam (90.8) and Taiwan (86.4). The Philippines lagged behind, ranking 79th out of 98 nations. 

“Arden’s leadership style is one of empathy in a crisis that tempts people to fend for themselves. Her messages are clear, consistent, and somehow simultaneously sobering and soothing. And her approach isn’t just resonating with her people on an emotional level. It is also working remarkably well,” said Uri Friedman of The Atlantic. 

In 2018, Silliman University installed the first woman president, Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann. McCann consistently strives to implement academic programs to continue the SU’s reputation as one of the best universities in the Visayas and the Philippines, especially in licensure and Bar exams.

Former Silliman University Student Government President Aprille Roselle Vince Juanillo has also expressed how gender has nothing to do with leadership.

“Gender is and should never be a determinant of abilities. You lead and you do what you can do for the cause you’re doing it for. As Silliman boasts of being a melting pot of people from all walks of life, you can be anything you want to be here. Anyone can lead. Anyone can serve—as long as that’s what you want to do.”

The Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) strongly believes in gender equality and equal opportunities.  At this height of crisis, the last thing that Filipinos would want to hear is a string of disparaging remarks from a country leader, especially against women.

Women have worked—and succeeded—in professions long seen as the colony of men. tWS calls to stop the inane culture of misogyny and sexism.

In 2020, the Philippines topped Grant Thornton International’s Women in Business report with the highest number of women executives holding senior management positions. This proves how Filipino women are beyond qualified to lead, spark change, and touch lives.


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