The UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR)

UPLB CFNR holds its inaugural Gender and Development Initiative through its “Gender Talk”

The University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR), through the CFNR Gender and Development Committee, held its inaugural Gender and Development (GAD) initiative titled, “Gender Talk: Gender Sensitivity and Orientation on Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710)” at the Nicolas P. Lansigan Auditorium last March 15, 2024. Ms. Karen Lagat-Mercado, a CFNR alumna and the current development management officer of the GAD Office at the Municipality of Los Baños, discussed the basic GAD concepts and the various agents of gender socialization that impact the portrayal of men and women in mass media and their representation in the workplace. She cited in her discussion some cases of gender-related sexual assault and violence in Los Baños and underscored the necessity to normalize discussions on the GAD concepts at the household level. She also explained the Magna Carta of Women. She mentioned that the female workforce may acquire additional benefits such as gynecological leave for reproductive health concerns and violence against women and children (VAWC) leave for issues of family abuse.

Her discussions had implications for the research and training programs of CFNR. She emphasized that training programs must be gender-responsive to address the gender needs of the training program participants. This will also ensure the attendees’ commitment and participation in the activities while still addressing their productive and reproductive functions at home. She also highlighted women’s inclusivity in disaster risk reduction and management preparedness as men dominated such programs. Finally, she stressed the importance of establishing breastfeeding corners and a common restroom for LGBTQIA++ for gender-responsive infrastructures and facilities.

The CFNR faculty and support staff then clarified the implications of the GAD concepts in research. For. Gaudencio H. Ramos III clarified the use of gender in research, especially when the discussions include data that categorize participants according to their sex. Ms. Lagat-Mercado suggested that researchers should rather use sex as a research category if gender orientation does not concern their project goals or objectives. Mr. Eric Luis Cabrido also clarified if the VAWC leave and gynecological leave were outlined in the Civil Service Commission. Ms. Lagat-Mercado affirmed the said inclusion and reminded that men would also benefit from the GAD discussions and policy initiatives if there were evidence proving their experience of marital violence. However, the lack of reporting on gender-related assaults and violations against men led to the lack of data that could be used to formulate GAD-related policies for them. 

The discussion ended with a powerful reminder that gender roles, attitudes, expectations, and characteristics can be learned, relearned, and unlearned. In the end, Ms. Lagat-Mercado suggested that future GAD training be held in her alma mater and reemphasized women’s role in shaping forestry. (PJB Del Rosario)

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