WE are all important -Lales during the 2023 NWM kick-off ceremony

“WE are all important. Kailangan lang equally mabigyan ng recognition,” said OIC-director Joell H. Lales during the kick-off ceremony of the 2023 National Women’s Month (NWM) celebration at DA-BAR, Quezon City on 6 March.

On 8 March, the Women’s Month exhibit featuring the women-partners of DA-BAR funded programs and projects, as well as the HERbook, an interactive board where staff can share their thoughts on this year’s NWM celebration, was launched.

This year’s theme, WE for gender equality and inclusive society, focused on how all genders should work together to attain this goal. This will be the new recurring theme for 2023-2028 set by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) which banked on the gains achieved during the 2016-2022 theme, WE Make CHANGE Work for Women, which emphasized the need for compassionate and harmonized networks toward gender equality and women’s empowerment.

As such, during the exhibit launch, DA-BAR assistant director Dr. Anthony B. Obligado affirmed the bureau’s commitment to ensure that its stakeholders, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE), will benefit from the research for development advancements in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

“The bureau remains steadfast in its commitment to provide equal opportunities to the agriculture and fisheries R4D sector by supporting programs, projects, and activities that will empower our stakeholders with research-based information, knowledge, and technologies,” said Dr. Obligado.

He also asserted the bureau’s continuous efforts to make the office a gender sensitive community.

“As a nation, our fight for a gender equal and inclusive society has a long way to go. While we are trying to dismantle the, hopefully disintegrating, sexist and patriarchal hegemony, the bureau is also committed to providing a conducive and safe space for its staff to unlearn, learn, and relearn knowledge and attitudes on gender equality,” he added.

He also reminded everyone that, “The celebration of women’s month is not just about the achievements and contributions of women in the society but also about the fight for equal rights and opportunities for every person regardless of their SOGIE.”

The DA-BAR Gender and Development Focal Point System prepared other activities which include the online seminar for stakeholders titled, Corn Open-Pollinated Varieties and the Women behind Café Bagga, on 16 March; as well as two seminars for staff titled, Gender Sensitivity in the Workplace, and Gender-responsive Agriculture and Fisheries Research, on 21 March. Staff were also invited to join the #PurpleWednesdays by wearing purple shirts in support of the PCW campaign. (### Rena S. Hermoso)