To strengthen the integration of gender perspective across the national government, particularly within the Department of Agriculture (DA), the National Sectoral Committee on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (NSC on GESI) convened on July 21, 2023 to discuss the policy study to institutionalize DA-GESI and the draft Executive Order in creating an Inter-Agency Council for Rural Women.

The policy study on the institutionalization of DA GESI and Gender and Development (GAD) Service is part of DA’s efforts to acknowledge the importance of mainstreaming gender equality and social inclusion in their plan and budget towards increasing agricultural productivity. 

The policy study would determine if there is a need to request to the Department of Budget Management the creation of plantilla positions for the office towards a more effective and efficient planning and implementation of GAD/GESI-related programs of the Department.

The proposed Inter-Agency Council on Rural Women would ensure the harmonization of all the key implementing agencies’ programs, activities and projects addressing the gender issues of rural women towards women empowerment. 

To further expand assistance, the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture recommended the inclusion of the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) along with other identified government offices in the initial list of members of the inter-agency. 

The Philippine Commission on Women also clarified that part of the function of the Council is the creation of subcommittees wherein specific offices can be tapped as members. For the DTI and the DOST, they are looking for a subcommittee on entrepreneurship for DTI and a subcommittee on research for DOST.

It was also noted that the Council can become a consultative body that would tackle issues concerning rural women and ensure cultural sensitivity to avoid conflict.

Meanwhile, the Committee also proposed topics for the 2023 PCAF Women’s Summit which will be conducted in September. The proposed topics vary from ongoing initiatives of women champions and extraordinary stories from the public and private sectors, involvement of women in the international scene, climate change and disasters, and adaptation mechanisms. 

Last year, the Summit housed more than 60 participants from all over the country and focused on the theme “Women as catalytic partners in food security, environment stewardship and nutrition.” | JC