Women were not allowed to vote before 1937 because it was supposed that it would only ruin family unity. The husband supposedly would have less power in the family.
Eighty-five years ago, Filipino women would not find their names on the voters’ list until a plebiscite was held on April 30, 1937.
That day marked the first time women in the country exercised suffrage after an overwhelming majority of 447,725 Filipino women voted in favor of their right to vote in political elections.
Since the first national election in 1907 for the Philippine Assembly until the adoption of the 1935 Constitution, only Filipino men were allowed to vote in the country and women had no legal rights.
Geronima Pecson became the first woman senator of the Philippines in 1947. Since then, there have been 23 Filipino women senators. In the current Congress, there are seven incumbent female senators.
On March 29, 1984, Proclamation No. 2346 was enacted declaring April 30 as “Woman Suffrage Day” to enable Filipino women “renew their advocacy and support for clean, honest and free elections and pursue with greater zeal their efforts towards this direction.”
Current Commission on Elections data show that registered female voters outnumber males by at least 1.5 million. Out of the 65,721,230 eligible voters in the country, 33,644,237 are women while 32,076,993 are men.
Regions with higher numbers of female than male voters are Calabarzon (4,852,037), National Capital Region (3,976,902), Quezon City (774,898), Manila (590,972), Central Luzon (3,767,563 ), Central Visayas (2,665,418), and Western Visayas, (2,550,639).
Regions where there are more male voters include Eastern Visayas, Soccksargen, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga.
The anniversary of women’s suffrage rights was celebrated across different campuses of the University of the Philippines through events dubbed “UPink Fight!” spearheaded by alumni and students as they called for the conduct of clean and honest elections.
The events coincided with the birthday of Vice President Leni Robredo.
UP Fight is the cheer, or slogan, popularly used during the University Athletic Association of the Philippines sports competition.
The “UPink Fight” activities highlighted the continuing and emerging women’s empowerment and gender equality issues and concerns, challenges, and commitments.
The campus molded us to fight for the causes we believe in, trained us for the skills we need to communicate ideas, and rally others to effect changes in society.
UP is known to be a sanctuary of advocates of civil rights and academic freedom, especially in times of uncertainty and social turmoil.
Iskolars ng Bayan have always been a potent force in social organization and social change in Philippine society. The university has taught us the vision of service to the people.
In her candidacy as vice president in 2016, Robredo stood against five male candidates. In a debate, she said, “I am a mother who will always look after her children. I will always look after our country, To the six of us, may the best woman win.” She won.
For the presidential race in the 2022 elections, Robredo is the only woman candidate. Let the last man standing be a woman.
Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, email [email protected], or call 09175025808 or 09088665786
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