Hundreds bike for women’s rights

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2009 08:50 PM | Updated as of Dec 14 2009 04:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Around 500 Filipino cyclists joined Amnesty International Philippines (AIPh) in a seven-city tour for women’s advocacy Sunday morning.

The “padyaKarapatan para sa mga Kababaihan (Bike for women’s rights, stop violence against women!)” took a 78-kilometer route around Metro Manila. The tour began at 6 a.m. at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

The advocacy for women’s rights was the theme for AIPh’s annual Bike for Rights.

“There is no society in the world where women are not at risk of gender-based violence, violence which inhibits women from taking an equal part in society and enjoying their human rights,” said Dr. Aurora Parong, Section Director of Amnesty International Philippines, in a statement.

“At home and in society at large, women and girls carry out more menial tasks and their voices are less likely to be heard. Many suffer further discrimination as a result of their ethnicity, race, religion, marital status or disability,” she added.

Amnesty International (AI) said that women’s rights “must be protected and their voices must be heard.”

Gender trap

An AI report entitled “The Gender Trap” noted that women earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property despite producing half of the world’s food and working two thirds of the world’s working hours.

AI also pointed out that women and girls who live in poverty often suffer human rights abuses more than any other societal sector. They are affected by “sexual violence, lack of opportunity to receive education, and too little protection against the risks of pregnancy and childbirth.”

Parong elaborated on the issue: “The UN Millennium Development Goals have recognized both education and health as vital to any strategies which seek to end poverty. Women and girls who live in poverty face additional barriers to these rights because of their socioeconomic status and gender discrimination.

“Building on its Stop Violence against Women campaign, Amnesty international’s Demand Dignity campaign will also focus on the barriers that many women face in realizing their human rights due to poverty, violence and discrimination” continued Parong.

The Demand Dignity campaign aims to mobilize people worldwide “to demand that governments, big corporations and others who have power must listen to the voices of the marginalized communities especially those living in poverty in order that their rights are recognized and protected.”

Meanwhile, AIPh recently held a flash mob dance on Human Rights Day to celebrate life. Three flash mob dances were held last Thursday at the SM Fairview Annex in Quezon City, Glorietta 5 Activity Center in Makati City and Plaza Miranda in Manila. A candle-lighting ceremony also took place after the flash mob in Plaza Miranda.

A flash mob is a large group of people, usually 200 and more, that assembles suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual action for a brief time then quickly disperses, AIPh explained in its Web site.