Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago wants the next President of the country to be a woman and called on the people to support female candidates who will run in 2016.
Speaking at the celebration of the International Women’s Month at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna, Santiago explained that for the country to have gender equality, the next president and her 10 successors should be female.
“We’ve had 13 male and only two female presidents so far. The Philippines has had a total of 15 presidents. To achieve equality between males and females, since we have had 13 males, the next 11 presidents should be female,” she said.
According to the senator, research have shown that when women are empowered as political leaders, countries often have higher standards of living with positive developments in education, infrastructure and health care.
She urged voters to support at least six female senatorial candidates in 2016. There are currently six women at the Senate—Senators Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, Nancy Binay and Santiago.
Santiago lamented that there is still a wide gap between the sexes in public office.
The senator cited the Civil Service Commission (CSC) memorandum circular setting a target of 50-50 representation of women and men in executive positions.
Yet in 2011, the CSC found that women occupy less than one-third of third-level positions in the government; more than one-third in government-owned and controlled corporations; less than twenty percent in local government units; and more than one-third in the judiciary. Overall, the proportionate share is 1:2 in favor of men holding top posts in government.
Furthermore, women are more likely to be technical staff, while the men are likely to hold managerial posts.
“The greater majority in both chambers of Congress has always been men. Possibly, this is one reason why there is so much corruption in Congress,” Santiago said.
According to her, the 2016 presidential elections will be a test of leadership.