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Consolidation of the Gender Committee

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FIELDWORK OUTPUT DELIVERABLES: Objective #3

Consolidation of the Gender Committee

I.            Introduction

The question of why the All UP Workers Union chose to call the arm for dealing with women’s needs, concerns, and issues a “gender committee” instead of a “women’s committee” had come under the scrutiny and criticism of other field agency partners present during the Second Semester AY 2007-08 Mid-semester Field Presentation discussion held by the Department of Women and Development Studies. Their contention mainly concerned their view that a “gender committee” is not feminist and can neither adequately address women’s practical needs nor raise awareness and transform fixed male-oriented structures within the organization to eventually realize women’s strategic needs, given the maleness of union ideologies, needs, concerns and issues and the resulting marginalization of women in theirs, as per their own experience with unions.

However, the union’s definition of gender, from our observation, highlights and values the varying roles and attributes of men and women in within its social, cultural and political context. In both formal and informal discussions with union officers and active members, it was clear that their initiative to create a gender committee and consolidate it in accordance with feminist ideologies emphasized their acknowledgement of how egalitarianism is consistent with feminist concepts and lacking, if not absent, in patriarchal structures and ideologies. The union also seeks to include the men in the struggle for women, provide advice and support, and formulate policies and programs that will benefit both women and men.

The union’s effort to create the gender desk stopped at its establishment, but their commitment to its consolidation made it one of the reasons for their move to become a field agency partner of the DWDS fieldwork program.

A.   Background

Provisions for the promotion of gender equality are explicitly stated in the Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA), to wit:

Article I

(Declaration of Principles)

Section 5. The University and the Union believe in the equality among men and women and the eradication of all forms of discrimination, and thus, recognize the vital role of collective negotiations in pursuing their commitment towards a truly gender-responsive university.

Article VII

(Promoting Gender Equality Among UP Employees)

Section 1 (Gender Sensitivity and Awareness Programs). The University shall implement gender sensitive programs for employees and shall support activities to be undertaken by the Union, in coordination with government and non-government agencies, to promote better understanding and awareness of gender issues among employees.

Section 2 (Day Care Facilities). The University agrees to maintain present day care facilities in campuses where they are now existing. The Union shall have one seat in the committee overseeing the management of the Kalinga Day Care Center and such other similar bodies of existing day care facilities. The Constituent Universities may provide space for Union-managed day care centers.

Section 3 (International Women’s Day). The University may allow its employees to attend, on official time, activities inside or outside the University to commemorate International Women’s Day every March 8.

 Table 18: CNA Provisions for Promulgating Gender Equality

 The Gender Committee was created to be the focal point for ensuring that the above-mentioned principles and stipulations are implemented.

B.   Gender Committee Framework

Situationer: Achievements and Gaps

The achievements and gaps in terms of gender initiatives can be viewed from three (3) aspects: (1) Organizational Development; (2) Training and education; and (3) Services.

Organizational Development

On the policy level, it is a significant achievement that the Union recognizes the importance of promoting gender equality and has incorporated this into the CNA.

On the implementation level, the creation of the Gender Committee demonstrates the effort to operationalize this policy. However, currently, the initiative to seriously pursue gender mainstreaming efforts have stopped there. The Committee is non-functional and majority of Union members, especially women, are not aware of the existence of the Committee. Moreover, the Committee has no members and the point person that supposedly heads the Committee is a male who does not have any gender training. Therefore, the Committee exists only in name. This implies that though the Union has the initiative, it is not really focused on gender issues.

 However, the wives of several members of the All UP Workers Union have collaborated to establish the All UP Women Solidarity, which seeks to give these women a voice while also supporting the efforts of their husbands in their struggle to uphold employees’ rights.

 Gender-disaggregated membership data is also not currently available. This is important in order to develop appropriate and gender responsive policies and programs.

 Organizational culture is an important take-off point to determine the level of gender-based programs that are appropriate to the organization. From our interaction with the members of the Union for four months, we have observed that the Gender Committee, given the proper focus and direction, can become an empowering means for both women and men to raise their consciousness on gender issues. Some positive manifestations that introducing gender programs can be effective and can gain the support of members include the following:

  • Although the union is a hierarchical organization, the relationship among Union officers and members are characterized by open communication, whereby communication flow is generally open and democratic;
  • The Union officers and members have mutual respect for each other and each other’s opinions;
  • There is teamwork and cooperation among women and men;
  • There is openness to the issue of gender; and
  • The active members (which also extends to their families) have very close ties, i.e. they hold joint birthday celebrations, etc.

Training and Education

No activity has been initiated in this aspect. Based on the findings of the study, there is a need to carry out the following activities in order to raise the gender consciousness of Union officers and members: information and education campaign (IEC); gender orientation or gender awareness seminars; and gender sensitivity training (GST).

Services

In terms of services for women, the Kalinga Day Care Center that is managed by the Center for Women’s Studies is the primary day care service provided by the University for all UP employees. However, the day care center can only accommodate a limited number of children per day, and it operates on a “first come, first served” policy. Clearly, the currently available day care facility is not enough.

Similarly, counseling services are provided by UP offices such as the Gender Office, and the Office for Anti-Sexual Harassment. It has not been determined though if Union members approach these offices or if they are aware of the services that these offices provide.

Objectives

The Gender Committee shall have the following objectives:

  • To lead in the planning and implementation of gender programs and activities that will raise the awareness of Union members on gender-based issues and promote equality among men and women.
  • To provide services and safe spaces for women, and/or link up with offices or organizations that can provide such services, including counseling and daycare facilities.
  • To ensure that an enabling environment for the participation of women is established within the Union.
  • To initiate activities during the Women’s Month, and coordinate with the All UP Women Solidarity and other relevant UP-based offices/units/departments.
  • To provide recommendations for gender mainstreaming within the Union.

C.           Duties and Responsibilities

At the minimum, the duties and responsibilities of the Gender Committee shall focus on the following:

Organizational Development

  • Identify gender-based issues within the Union and provide recommendations for addressing these.
  • Come up with a Gender and Development (GAD) Plan, as well as GAD budget.
  • Initiate annual gender consciousness-raising and planning workshops.
  • Identify a GAD focal person per office/unit.

Training and Education

  • Carry out information and education campaigns (IEC), and organize or co-organize gender awareness/orientation seminars, and gender sensitivity training for Union officers and members.

Services

  • Ensure that women have access to essential services and safe spaces such as counseling and daycare facilities. This includes the establishment of a referral system if such services cannot be provided by the Union itself.
  • Institute linkages/partnerships with gender-based offices, organizations, or community groups.

D.           Committee Members

Name

Office/Unit

Francisca Vera Cruz

Campus Maintenance Office

Nesali Gavanzo

Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment

Ligaya Borja

UP Main Library

Wilhelmina dela Paz

National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education

Joyce

JR Gonzales

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs

Jonathan Beldia

College of Mass Communications

Noel de Jesus

Office of Scholarships and Student Services

Other employees who have signified interest to join Gender Committee

Table 19: Members of the Gender Committee

E.           Gender and Development (GAD) Plan

Following the NCRFW GAD Plan format, we have attempted to draft a GAD Plan, shown in the table below:

Program/ Activity/ Project

Gender-related Issues and Concerns

GAD Objectives

Identified GAD Activity

Target

Gender planning and budgeting

Inclusion of gender in the Union’s agenda

To make gender one of the priority issues of the Union

Annual gender planning

Annual GAD Plan and Budget

Appoint a GAD focal person per office/unit

Focus on office-based gender issues

To monitor the specific gender issues in the different offices/units

Conduct office-based discussions about gender issues

There is an identified GAD focal person per office/unit who will work hand-in-hand with the Gender Committee

Regular meetings of the Gender Committee

Regular update and assessment of gender-related programs and activities

To evaluate the effectiveness and/or impact of gender programs and activities

Quarterly meeting of the Gender Committee

Quarterly assessment report on gender programs and activities

Gender awareness

Address gender gaps

To increase the level of consciousness of Union officers and members on gender issues

Information and education campaign (IEC)

Gender awareness seminars

Gender sensitivity training (GST)

Section in Pandayan allotted to gender issues; Quarterly updates on the activities of the Gender Committee; Announcements (thru flyers) of upcoming gender-related activities; gender forums

Gender awareness seminar per office/unit

GST for: Union officers; members of Gender Committee; and GAD Focal person per office

Provide basic services for women

Address women-specific needs

To provide adequate services and safe spaces for women

Provide counseling services

Provide day care facilities

Women’s desk in the Union, or referral system

Referral system with Kalinga Day Care Center and other day care centers within UP vicinity

Coordinate with relevant UP offices (Gender Office; Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment)

Align gender efforts

To strengthen coordination with other UP offices concerned with gender

Conduct joint activities on gender

Identified joint activities, i.e. gender awareness seminars; GST; referral system

Initiate activities during Women’s Month

Advocate women’s holistic needs

To encourage women members to participate in Women’s Month activities

Possible activities:III.Forums on gender topicsIV.Participate in International Women’s Day marchV.Women’s socials; Family dayVI.Women’s health promotion such as free pap smear; fun runVII.Sponsor film showing

Conduct office-based activities

Conduct Union-wide activities

Calendar of planned activities for the whole month

Find external funding sources for programs and activities

Generate more resources to carry out gender programs and activities

To obtain additional funding support for gender programs and activities

Develop proposals on the implementation of gender programs and activities, to be submitted to possible funding agencies

At least one proposal developed annually

F.           Delineation between Gender Committee and All UP Women Solidarity

To avoid any overlap in the duties and tasks, the focus of the gender programs and activities of the Gender Committee shall be at the organization-level, while the All UP Women Solidarity shall focus on community-level programs and activities. However, the two shall have coordinated efforts, and shall support each other’s activities, either through participation or as co-organizer.

G.           Gender-disaggregated membership data

As explained earlier, efforts at gender-disaggregating data will make visible the roles, tasks, and contributions, particularly of the women, which are rendered invisible by statistics gathered. The Gender Committee may set about this as one of their initiatives in order to better understand the realities of both male and female employees and effectively plan activities and review policies.

“Women and the All UP Unions: Mainstreaming the Women’s Agenda – An Integrated Field Work Paper” written Jelina Tetangco and Cindy Cruz-Cabrera | March 2008

Next: Consolidation of the All UP Women Solidarity

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Author: cindycatz: occasional pianist and coffee shop philosopher

fond of the sun, sky, sea, sand and starfish; passionate about literacy, education, media, feminisms, development, popular culture, counterculture, migration phenomenon, anthropology and the fourth world; fascinated with crochet, sushi-making, fiction, creative non-fiction, storytelling, some films and series | books and comics | anime and manga | music and videos | bands and groupies, Latin and Italian, mom-and-pop consumerism, tavern bards and cafe philosophers, trinkets and bric-a-bracs, and steampunk and lolita couture; and absolutely enamored with nail polish and bag charms, frappucinos and margaritas, conversations and moments, her 41 year-old piano, and - of course - CATS. credentials? visit about.me/cindycruzcabrera & ph.linkedin.com/in/cindycruzcabrera/

2 thoughts on “Consolidation of the Gender Committee

  1. Pingback: Production of Gender Disaggregated Data: All UP Workers Union | Papers, Pursuits and Purrsuasions

  2. Pingback: Women and the All UP Unions: Mainstreaming the Women’s Agenda – An Integrated Field Work Paper – Abstract and Blog List | Papers, Pursuits and Purrsuasions

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