CHR: Senator’s CA comment disrespect, disregard and discriminate women

CHR: Senator’s CA comment disrespect, disregard and discriminate women

4 May 2017

CHR: Senator’s CA comment disrespect, disregard and discriminate women

The Commission on Human Rights, as Gender Ombud, joins the collective condemnation of the sexist and discriminatory comment made by Senator Sotto during the May 3, 2017 Commission on Appointment deliberation of Secretary Judy Taguiwalo when he said “In the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag lang ay na-ano lang.”

The comment, which Sen Sotto explained to be a joke, was not only unnecessary, uncalled for, and inappropriate, it was sexist and discriminatory against women as it portrays women as mere “objects of pleasure who end up getting pregnant – na ano – in Sen. Sotto’s words”.

It shows the Senator’s insensitivity to the everyday and multiple burden that women face including unpaid care work and which are compounded for women who raise their children on their own. Such comment contributes to the stigma and prejudice that solo parents face, including those faced by children borne of single parents.

It is deplorable that such a comment came from an elected Senator and that it elicited laughter from the halls of the Congress. The incident shows how those charged by law to protect women from discrimination, often forget and unwittingly become promoters of discrimination themselves.

At a time when the country boasts of being 7th in the Gender and Development Index, and where we have laws such as the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710), prohibiting all forms of discrimination against women, and Solo Parents Act (RA 8972) which seeks to address the needs of Solo Parents, such an uncalled for remark and behavior from the Senator during the CA deliberations is unacceptable. While the Senator already issued his apology, dismissing the comment as a ‘joke’ and one that ‘kanto’ (street people) would utter, we once again reiterate a point we have previously issued in several instances on public officials tasked to protect and prevent discrimination against women, we urge public officials to promote and protect women from discrimination and not to be perpetrators themselves. We reiterate what we have pointed out before that the usual excuse of humor at the expense of women’s dignity is simply unacceptable.

While it is the mandate of the Committee on Appointments to scrutinize appointees of the President, including Secretary Judy Taguiwalo; Senator Sotto, as a member of the CA had no right to make the secretary the butt of his sexist joke for being a solo parent. In doing so, even in jest, the Senator discriminates and insults not only Secretary Judy but all women. All women deserve full respect and protection of the law.


Contact Person:

Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia
OIC, Public Affairs and Strategic Communication Office
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