Palibhasa Babae

Palibahasa Babae (Just because they’re women) 

The Palibhasa Babae television commercial shows the different (compared to men’s) struggle of poor women from rural communities as they raise families, earn income, and make decisions. The commercial features acclaimed TV and film actress Cherie Pie Picache enacting the typical day of a rural woman burdened by many tasks and just not enough money.

Women in rural communities work 10-12 hours a day— doing housework, making a living, producing and selling products to increase the family income, and being active in the community. Most of these tasks are unpaid and go unnoticed, and yet, these tasks are responsible for sustaining poor families through various crises. 

But something can be done for Filipino rural women.


8 Things You Can Do For Rural Women

March 8 is International Women’s Day.  This day recognizes the role of women in nation-building, particularly, their “invisible” work—taking care of husbands and children, cleaning the house, cooking, etc.  This day reminds us that although women face the same problems of poverty and political neglect, they experience these problems differently, because of their lesser status in society. For example, men have the last say when it comes to family decisions because they are the “padre de familia,” the ruler of the house. While women have to do most of the housework because their social role is to take care of the family—even if this means they won’t have time for themselves.   

But you can change that. As child, husband or government official—you can start with eight things. Doing any—or we hope, all—of these eight things is your way of recognizing rural women as important members of the Filipino society, equal to men.

As a citizen,  

  1. Donate to women’s groups.  To donate to PKKK, click here.
  2. Vote for candidates who have a clear development agenda/program for women.
  3. Report a public official who does not treat women with respect.
  4. Report persons who traffic women.
  5. Buy from companies who support women’s causes. 
  6. Boycott products from companies who do not give fair wages or exploit women and children including in the promotion of their products
  7. Join public activities for women’s causes.
  8. Do not litter; women will most likely end up cleaning them.

As a family member,

  1. Distribute housework among husband, children and other household members; agree on the rotation schedule.  Men and boys should share the housework, too.
  2. Give mom or ate a day-off from housework to be with friends.
  3. Take 5 minutes a day to share with your mother your activities during the day. This way, she will feel important. Or, give her a free nail polish, or a comic book or pocketbook she likes.
  4. On special occasions, have a wacky photo taken with just you and mom.
  5.  Housework is WORK. Be proud that your mom is a homemaker.  Avoid using deprecating words like “plain housewife” because managing the household is not simple as you think. 
  6. Take her to the doctor for wellness consultation.
  7. Make a homemade card for her birthday.
  8. Sing her favorite song.

As a husband,

  1. Tell your wife how beautiful she is. 
  2. Take her out once a week, to walk in the beach or park.
  3. Consult her when making a decision. Come to a decision together.
  4. Limit your time out with friends. Be sure to be home for dinner.
  5. Take the children to school at least once a week.  Attend parent-teacher association meetings.
  6. Cut your budget for cigarettes and beer and offer your savings to her so she can buy something for herself.
  7. Visit the health center for a family planning consultation.
  8. Make her laugh.

As policy-makers and enforcement agencies,

  1. Count her in.  Implement a gender-aware statistical data base.
  2. Set-up a referral system for victims of violence against women and children.  Disseminate information on VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children) in popular forms.
  3. Localize the Magna Carta of Women.  Make women-friendly ordinances.
  4. Schools should promote positive recognition of women’s  contribution nation-building.  School curricula should be gender-sensitive.
  5. Monitor the Gender and Development (GAD)Budget implementation.  Be keen on substantive results on women’s empowerment.
  6. Integrate gender/women’s concerns in your proposed bills and programs/projects.
  7. Conduct consultations with poor women  on the local Comprehensive Development Plan and Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
  8. Recognize outstanding women in your field.

As a civil society organization,

  1. Have a proactive plan to develop more women leaders in your organizations.
  2. Create spaces for women to discuss issues of national and local concerns so she can say how these issues affect her.
  3. Implement an Anti-Sexual Harassment policy.  Any form of violence against women should be grounds for disciplinary action.
  4. Include support for VAWC victims in your annual budgets should your staff or members be victimized.
  5. Organize men who are supportive of gender equality.
  6. Read and ask how you can improve your services to women.  Distribute manuals and documentation of best practices.
  7. Ensure at least 30% representation in dialogues/for a and international conferences.
  8. Make women’s rights a non-negotiable agenda in your campaigns and projects.  

The movers behind the commercial

Palibhasa Babae is produced by Oxfam and the Pambansang Kongreso ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), with advertising agency Harrison Communications, a subsidiary of McCann Erickson-Philippines.

Oxfam is an international non-profit organization that works with others to end poverty and human suffering. In the Philippines, we work with poor people to sustain their livelihoods, and reduce their risks to natural and human-made disasters. We strive to enable poor people to have a voice in economic issues affecting them and we support poor women as they lead in transforming unequal social and economic relations.

PKKK is a coalition of organizations, federations, NGOs and individuals working with women in the agriculture, fisheries, IPs and informal sector in the Philippines.  Members are committed to the Rural Women’s Agenda, seeking to promote the interests and rights of rural women through policy advocacy, research, and women’s capacity and leadership development. PKKK has projects on gender-responsive governance, campaigns and advocacies on women’s equal rights (to land, natural resources, political participation, and economic resources), working closely with national government agencies and the civil society. PKKK has a reach of more than 42 provinces, 170 municipalities, and more than 220 organizations throughout the country.

Harrison Communications is a full-service advertising agency committed to building brands that genuinely connect with Filipinos — brands that embody the Pinoy psyche and touch the Pinoy heart. Harrison supports Filipino growth by propelling local and emerging brands to market leadership in their respective categories.  Harrison’s diverse brand portfolio includes: Globe Telecom, URC’s Jack & Jill range, Neozep, DPC Yellow Pages, and Pioneer Life.


7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. joi  |  March 16, 2010 at 3:38 am

    i am also a housewife and i’m so very touch when i read this site… and now i am thinking about my responsibilities in the house …and then i was crying..

    • 2. Oxfam Pilipinas  |  March 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

      Hello Ms Joy, Maraming salamat po. Sana po ay magsilbing inspirasyon po ang commercial para sa inyong pamilya upang kayo po ay mapahalagahan. Ingat po.

  • 3. blahblah016  |  March 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Rubbish. What about men??

    • 4. Oxfam Pilipinas  |  March 18, 2010 at 8:00 am

      Hi Marc! What do you propose we can do for men this time?

  • 5. joi  |  March 19, 2010 at 6:18 am

    OXFAM i really like it….

  • 6. lizzette  |  June 4, 2010 at 8:29 am

    i love oxfams ways of advocating on women’s rights. i hope that men will be able to read and reflect on this..Oxfam rocks!

    • 7. Oxfam Pilipinas  |  June 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

      Thanks, Lizette!


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