MANILA -- A crowdfunding initiative was launched on Wednesday in an effort to support the campaigns of "deserving' female candidates in the 2022 elections.
Organized by the Alliance of Women for Action Towards Reform (AWARE), Let Women Lead is an online platform where Filipinos can donate any amount -- even as low as P5 -- to the campaigns of the selected candidates through credit card, bank transfer, or e-wallet.
The idea was first proposed in September by AWARE co-founder Winnie Monsod, an economist and columnist.
During the virtual launch, she reiterated the need for qualified women to be given a chance to serve in government.
"Talagang women are underrepresented sa ating mga lipunan, and that underrepresentation costs the country so much," Monsod said. "Hindi ko naman sinasabi na aalisin ang kalalakihan; ang sinasabi ko lang to even out the odds. Kasi we (women) are 50% of the Filipino population, and in 2019 only 20% of the candidates were women.
"Ano ba ang nagi-impede sa women na pumasok sa politics? The first is money. So I said, we have to get money for the right women in politics," she added.
"Because if we get the right women in politics and finance them, we are going to have a better government."
The selection of female candidates that will be given support is based on criteria made by AWARE members, as supported by independent resource persons who are leaders in their respective fields.
Factors considered include sound moral character with no history of corruption; consistency in adhering to democracy and the rule of law, and in asserting Philippine sovereignty; commitment to implementing social justice and human rights; priority for the poor as the center of her development agenda; proven competence; and does not come from a political dynasty.
As of writing, Let Women Lead has proclaimed that it will back the campaigns of Vice President Leni Robredo, who is running for president; and senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, who are seeking reelection.
The initiative has so far collected P3 million, with AWARE assuring that it will give regular reports to update the public on how the money they donated is being used.
When asked if one can give money to a particular candidate through Let Women Lead, Monsod replied: "If you want to just give it to a particular candidate, just give it to her. Don't pass it through us because it becomes a large fund, a general fund."
She added that they are planning to make Let Women Lead a long-term initiative and extend it beyond the 2022 polls to help future female leaders.