From the moment we are conceived, a common question often posed by parents and relatives is - "is it a boy or a girl?". Most parents, especially the more traditional ones, prefer to have a boy as the first born. This preference for a male can sometimes go to extremes.
In India and China, female infanticide or the intentional killing of baby girls due to a preference for male babies, was, and still is in some places, a practice. It could be the most brutal and destructive manifestation of anti-female bias and the low status of females.
While sex and gender is a social construction, it is used as the natural basis for classifying people into only two distinct categories: male and female. Male as the dominant, the first citizens and females as submissive, the second citizens. Thus, creating gender discrimination and gender equality.
MANIFESTATION OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION, SOME FIGURES...
1. Eight (8) in every 10 Filipino children are underweight, which affects more girls than boys in some regions of the Philippines. Adolescent girls receive the least amount of nutrients compared to other household members, yet are made to do more domestic work than boys.
2. Sixty percent (60%) of the more than 10 million out-of-school Filipino youth are female.
3. Ninety-five percent (95%) of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation are out-of-school.
4. More than 1.5 million girls aged 15-17 give birth each year. Teenage girls make up 25% of those who die each year from pregnancy and childbirth.
5. More girls (4 out of 5 youth) are affected by HIV-AIDS, which is enhanced by the commercialization of sex, pornography, tourism and trafficking.
6. The Philippines is fourth among nine nations with the most children in prostitution, most of them are females.
7. A University of the Philippines study found in their sample, that 76.7% of family and household violence cases were committed against girls. At least 32.8% of the abuses were repeated abuses that went on for a year or more.
8. A study on adolescents noted that a significant proportion of first sexual experiences among Filipino youth was against their will, which is tantamount to rape.
Gender discrimination indeed has dire consequences on females from conception and throughout their lives.
Gender and sexual rights are human rights. The United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Philippine Constitution, and our Labor Code, all declare that there should be no discrimination against any person on the basis of gender.
SEXUALITY, SEXUAL HEALTH & RIGHTS
Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all these dimensions, not all of them are always are experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical and religious and spiritual factors.
Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.
Sexual Right rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:
* the highest attainable standard of sexual health, including access to sexual and
reproductive health care services;
* seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;
* sexuality education;
* respect for bodily integrity;
* choose their partner;
* decide to be sexually active or not;
* consensual sexual relations;
* consensual marriage;
* decide whether or not, and when, to have children; and
* pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.