Ms. Rosita S. Celis Global Peace Women Leadership Conference 2014

Global Peace Foundation
October 15, 2014

Women and Poverty

Many of us will agree that women have always played pivotal roles in our society. As what the great Alphonse Lamartine said; “There is a woman in the beginning of great things.” Great writers and thinkers have put women on rare pedestal. George Hermes edified women with his commentary that: “A woman is the perfect workmanship of God, the true glory of angels, the rare miracle of earth and the sole wonder of the world.” I am proud I am a woman, not just perceived to bearing children and be the light of the home, because history has vividly shown, that women as a class, have never been parties to any form of destruction.

We have never marched off to wars of conquest to subjugate the weak and the less brave; nor have we been partners to the obliteration of the culture and genius of a nation. Many of my peers have consistently championed the preservation and enhancement of life, the conservation of natural resources, and the harmonious interaction between humanity and nature. Being aware that among the pressing environmental concern is the increasing population growth and the attendant problem of waste disposal. I chose to pay tribute to the many women; who while nurturing in their beings the instinct and compassion of a mother, the wisdom and enthusiasm of a committed advocate, the courage and strength of community prime movers, have always championed to keep nature in its original pure state. Women are brave and are certainly capable of accomplishing much more for humanity, firmly believing that we are ONE FAMILY UNDER GOD.

The opinion was advanced by Christopher Notes that, when God first created man He thought he could do better than that and He created Woman. Because we are not only the light bringer and man’s inspiration, but we contribute to a nation’s building. Is it not said, that behind a man’s success is a Woman. Look! The Statue of Liberty, is a towering sculpture of a graceful woman, rendered in tons of metal. It continues to represent the basic virtues of freedom and democracy. This image greets and inspires every freedom loving citizen of the world as it watches over the air of freedom pervading in the great American nation. The role of women in the Philippines is well defined in our context of culture, standards and traditions. We are perceived to be women with strong character and conviction who can run the family and business directly or indirectly. By our sheer number and by our great capacities, we are indeed a very potent force in every society. Of the more than 1 billion people in the world the great majority of whom are women; who live in an unacceptable conditions of poverty, mostly residing in developing countries. Poverty is a complex, multidimensional problem, with origins both in national and international domains. The globalization of the world’s economy and the deepening interdependence among nations are factors which contribute challenges and opportunities for sustained economic growth and development, as well as risks and opportunities for the future of a country’s economy. Poverty resources in general are critical social problems that need to be addressed. It is said that 27.9 % of our population fell below the poverty line. The decline in our poverty level is much lower than in our neighboring countries, who also experienced the same economic problems in the 80’s. The absolute number of people living in poverty due to limited resources; resulted mostly in family problems; children are forced to give up studying, parents are forced to accept even menial jobs, just to have both ends meet. A great number of children go to street to beg, become scavengers, others sell flesh, and become easy prey to do illegal work. Extreme poverty has greatly affected a once happy, religious and closely knit family; others separate and leave the comfort of their homes to find a living no matter how degrading the job might; be while others, who cannot bear to see the family suffering commit suicide.

Transformations in the world economy are profoundly changing the parameters of social development in all regions/countries. One great significance is the increased in women poverty which varies from region to region. Climate change, deforestation, pollution, and health problems are factors greatly affecting economic growth. Forest cover is fast disappearing and flora and fauna are nearing extinction. Migration and changes in family structures put additional burden on women, particularly those who have several dependents aside from her children. But most Filipino women who are highly educated and concerned with the plight of the less privileged and those who have less in life directly help the distressed families, while others joined civic-organizations and prepared plans and programs to help combat poverty. The empowerment of women is a critical factor in the eradication of poverty. It is to be noted that poverty in families with more children are particularly common in rural areas. Poverty in many developing countries remains a challenge. Economic growth through boom and cycles and the recent episode of moderate expansions have had limited impact on most people. But, the Filipino women in all of these life’s difficulties remain steadfast to care for her family who take much inspiration from the Holy Book. In the beginning and the end of this great compilation, God gave primary leadership roles to women, fortified by what Victor Hugo said: “Men might have the sight, but women have the insight.” But despite of our great contribution to the financial, physical and well-being of many nations, women remain to be a second class minority in leadership and decision making roles. Worldwide, women have started right in aiming for parity. Our momentum has been established. We cannot afford to be less enthusiastic. We should have equal share of the task of leadership. So I enjoined everybody to pay tribute to all women regardless of race, religion and color, who nurtured and care for their children and still have the courage and determination do their share for a committed cause as man’s lifetime partner, who assist in the government’s endeavour to lighten the burden of problems of those in need. Being a championed partner of men in caring for the family and the ability to mobilize to protect women and children and cooperate with the government and other organizations to help uplift the living conditions of those who have less in life.

This world should make way for more women leaders who are challenged to be proactive and assume responsibility with equality as one family under God.

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