For the world to progress, it needs more women leaders, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said Tuesday in a speech delivered during the Liberal Forum on Women in Leadership Roles in South Africa.
The event was organized by the Friedrich Neumann Foundation for Freedom.
“The diversity of opinion and perspective provided by strong and skilled women in board rooms, in local governance, in legislation, in multi-lateral organizations, in trade and finance, and in development work, ensures a more balanced, more inclusive world,” Robredo said in her keynote speech.
“For so long, women have felt that their place is not to lead, as if staying home and taking care of children is not a leadership role. The women in this room who are involved in creating legislation or executing national programs know that making a toddler calm down while you are thinking of 10 other things to do is a lot more intractable compared with dealing with 10 male members of Congress who cannot agree on a bill,” she added.
Robredo’s speech was shared by Dinagat Rep. Kaka Bag-ao in her Facebook page.
Bag-ao was with Robredo, along with Libeal Party president and Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Reps. Jose Christopher Belmonte and Jorge Banal of Quezon City, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya.
“The global narrative on women points to one thing: women’s issues should be central to policymaking, and we are happy men are joining this conversation. Gender equality is not a soft issue that forms part of a footnote, because reality has shown that when women are heard more, societies thrive better,” Robredo said.
The vice president called on her fellow public servants to educate women around the world about their rights against abuse.
“Once women recognize the effects of second generation bias and all other forms of harassment, they will feel empowered, not victimized, because they can do something about it,” Robredo said.
Before delivering her speech, Robredo visit a housing site in City of Capetown and talked with local leaders from the City Council Office to discuss problems brought about by rapid urbanization.
“Harvested a lot of lessons which we can use in dealing with our informal settlers problems. Inspiring to note that many of the housing programs are community-driven, very similar to what we have always been advocating for,” Robredo said in her Facebook page.