Updated: Apr 11
On Nov. 2, 2022, Likhaan was invited to facilitate a Gender Sensitivity Training for Guang Ming College faculty and staff based in Tagaytay. 44 school executives, faculty and non-academic staff attended.
Founded in the Philippines in 2014, GMC is the first Buddhist university in the Philippines and integrates Buddhist studies with the Arts and Sports. It selects scholars from poor communities and awards them free tuition and board and lodging in its 2 colleges (Malate and Tagaytay).
The one day session was intended to: provide a common understanding of gender and gender inequality in schools; orient participants to sexual harassment and gender-based violence and the provisions in Philippine laws; and provide a guide to gender-inclusive language, among other actions, to promote gender inclusivity and equality throughout the school ecosystem.
Dr. Junice Melgar started the session by asking participants to form a circle and throw a “gender ball” from one participant to any participant in the circle. Each participant throwing the ball named a gender and the receiver named a characteristic associated with the gender. The point of the exercise was to identify and process common stereotypes and gender roles, and discriminatory attitudes.
Dr. Melgar discussed Gender Inequality and Discrimination in society and particularized to
schools citing studies gender differences and inequalities in school participation between male and female students. She talked about gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools. She also shared a list of ”gender fair” or gender-neutral” terminologies, including those recommended as SOPs in formal communication.
Joy Salgado, Likhaan’s Advocacy Coordinator, discussed the salient points of the original Anti Sexual Harassment Law (Republic Act 7877), which covered Workplaces and educational
institutions, and the Safe Spaces Act (Republic Act 11313), which covered all public spaces. She also discussed the penalties for violations and the applications, particularly the role, of school administrations.
Hope B. Abella, Likhaan’s Advocacy Coordinator on Gender-Based Violence began her session with a quiz on concepts regarding Violence Against Women (VAW) and provisions of the VAWC Law, including the different protection orders. She emphasized that a VAW survivor response should not only focus on recording and reporting, but also the provision of health services.
During the open forum, participants reiterated the importance of respect for gender diversity and for its codification in school policies. A school official also raised the need for GMC to conduct a baseline Gender Needs analysis, in response to which Dr. Junice said she would send sample tools.