History has a way of telling us how prejudice cripples many female political aspirants—their roles reduced and confined in humble spaces where society deems them fit, their dreams pulverised into smithereens long before they speak. While women make up half of the Philippine population, seats in all branches of the government remain dominated by male figures.
Women in key government positions have proven that they are just as productive and capable as their male counterparts; yet statistics show that only about 23 per cent of current elected officials are female. Pop culture montages feed us the illusion that when a girl suits up, perseveres, and dumbfounds people with her hot takes, then she too, can become a leader. But real life never really plays out just like the movies, does it? Here, women have to fight for their space in politics.
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In the Philippine Senate, only seven out of 24 senatorial seats are filled by women. Their proportion in politics has yet to meet the 30 per cent “critical mass” which many scholars identify as the percentage necessary for minorities to have a level of influence that shakes even just a portion of the large crowd.
The top position in the country is no different. Flip the records backwards and you will see that there had only been two female presidents in the past; two of them were born after tumultuous uprisings. [Corazon Cojuangco Aquino through People Power and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who initially assumed presidency after EDSA II].
The slow increase in female representation in politics may be linked to some of the country’s prevailing patriarchal norms and gender stereotypes calling women “weak, emotional, and indecisive.” The heavy burden of certain responsibilities placed on the shoulders of numerous women (such as domestic duties) can play a role in discouraging many from entering and pursuing demanding jobs such as running for public office.