Include women in all decision-making levels

Speech of Senator Pia S. Cayetano at the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Forum of Women Parliamentarians held in Manama, Bahrain

Leadership can make or break a nation. And for leaders in parliament like us, there is much we can do to address the gender gap.

We know this, but it is worth repeating: the number one thing we need to do is include women in all decision-making levels.

I am an elected senator in the Philippines and that means I am elected nationwide. So [when] I go around the country and meet local government people, I always emphasize the importance of women’s voices. Decisions made without their perspective is never good enough.

On the budget, in the Philippines, our Magna Carta of Women Law requires five percent of the total budget of government agencies are set aside for GAD [Gender and Development] programs and activities.

This is a good thing, but this session serves as a reminder for us to review how these budgets are used, and how can we use these funds during times of crisis.

Also in the Philippines, we have a Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking. It was my initiative to establish this Committee. We are one of a few parliaments in the world that reviews policies and laws with a futures thinking lens. To this end, I have been able to include futures thinking research [in the] budget for public universities. They are tasked to conduct research precisely on topics that affect women like food security, access to clean water, climate change, and more. The importance of studying these issues from a gender perspective cannot be overlooked.

Also, both at the Committee level and on the floor, my team seeks to look at all legislation from both a gender perspective and sustainability.

Meanwhile, I will continue to listen intently to the debates. I will take home a wealth of information from the wonderful women who have participated here today and to our resource persons.

Thank you very much to all. #

Senator Pia S. Cayetano heads the Philippine delegation to the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Manama, Bahrain, from March 11-15, 2023.
“We know this, but it is worth repeating: the number one thing we need to do is include women in all decision-making levels.” -Senator Pia S. Cayetano


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