MANILA— The embassies of Austria and Sweden in Manila on Friday vowed to assist the Philippines in its campaign to end violence against women (VAW) through a series of activities this year.
Last November, the Sweden embassy launched the “Respeto Naman” campaign against gender-based violence, which was followed by the ongoing “Don’t Tell Me How To Dress” movement, an exhibit of clothes worn by rape and VAW victims displayed in malls in Manila.
“We found that the response was so strong that we want to extend it. We’re now looking at bringing it nationwide not only in Manila,” Sweden Ambassador Harald Fries said, referring to the exhibit displayed at the Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City
“I’m looking at a one-year campaign with the message of stop violence against women and girls,” he added.
While not part of the “Respeto Naman” campaign and the “Don’t Tell Me How To Dress” movement, the Austrian embassy in Manila said its activities geared toward raising awareness on gender equality and fighting VAW are continuous.
“Austria is not part of this project but fight against VAW is one of the thematic priorities of the Austrian Foreign Ministry. We are very active here in the embassy in awareness raising campaigns to end VAW,” Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian told reporters on the sides of the International Women’s Day Summit 2019 in Taguig City.
“This year, we have an expert on human trafficking from Austria and she met with immigration authorities and the National Bureau of Investigation and with all those who can help fight VAW and human trafficking,” she added.
Rasoulian stressed the need to continue conducting dialogues and campaigns to address the root of gender inequality, which is one of the reasons behind VAW.
“There is so many different perceptions of gender, we have to address that. Women talk gender, whereas men often do not, they don’t even see that there is inequality among men and women,” she said.
“Legislation alone cannot do the job, we have to change the mindset, we have to change the heart, we have to see what the core problem is– that the traditional gender stereotypes have existed for so long. We have to educate the women, yes, and we have to educate the men the same way we have to work with the women,” she said. (PNA) By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora