How would men feel if they were in women’s shoes—literally, or otherwise?
Ronell J. Delerio, a staff of the Institute of Labor Studies, an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment, has a “woman’s answer” to this question after he traipsed on the street in a non-branded, two-inched heeled black and gold wedge, wobbling to maintain his balance—all for a worthy cause.
“I heeded the call of the National Youth Commission to wear women’s shoes to symbolically call attention to the often-trivialized conditions of women in our country. It was also my way of sympathizing with their plight,” he explained.
Considering that maternal death rate in the country is still at 221 per 100,000 live births, Delerio said what he did was his contribution to stirring the consciousness of Filipinos about this “alarming” scenario.
On 6 March 6, Delerio joined a solidarity walk the NYC organized as its contribution to the National Women’s Month commemoration. The walk featured the participation of men from different government agencies and youth groups who walked in heels to symbolize their empathy with women’s experiences still considerably characterized by discrimination and prejudice. Delerio was one of them.
He was in good company. NYC Commissioner Dingdong Dantes and Chairperson Gio Tingson, also in women’s heeled shoes, walked with many other men from Banawe Street on to Quezon Avenue, ending up at the Welcome Rotunda at the boundary of Quezon City and Manila where a short program capped the walk.
“In Her Shoes 2”, as the walk was dubbed, was simultaneously held in La Trinidad, Benguet; Cebu City; and Davao City. The NYC first held the initiative in 2014 as a dare to its male employees.
"Women's difficult conditions in the country are often hidden under the veneer of good statistics. This is why we, especially men, tend to trivialize issues of gender equality and women empowerment. We need to step up our efforts in further raising awareness and sensitivity on things that matter to women. The symbolic walk is a step in the right direction,” Delerio said.
Also in March, the Institute for Labor Studies, the DOLE’s policy research and advocacy arm, also conducted a research forum on women workers in migration, in collaboration with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. ILS Executive Director Mary Grace Riguer and Deputy Executive Director Atty. Stephanie Tabladillo presented papers concerning Filipino household workers and health workers abroad. The Gender and Development Committee of the Institute also conducted a gender sensitivity training for its staff. All these were part of the ILS contribution to the National Women’s Month commemoration.
For more information on this story, please contact the Advocacy and Publications Division of ILS at telephone nos. 5273490/527-3447.
END/With a report from on-the-job trainee Dennis Mopera