Here is Senator Miriam Santiago’s compelling argument for why the next President of the Philippines should be a woman…
“We’ve had 13 male and only two female presidents so far. The Philippines has had a total of 15 presidents. To achieve equality between males and females, since we have had 13 males, the next 11 presidents should be female.”
Santiago also advocated the “improvement” of the gender ratio in the Philippine Senate and “urged voters to pick 6 female candidates for senator in 2016 to achieve gender equality in the upper house.”
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So following Santiago’s recommended criteria for evaluating candidates for president in the 2016 elections and the next Senate elections, it would seem that what would matter the most is the sort of equipment these candidates pack between their legs. All, perhaps, for the be-all-end-all goal of a 50-50 gender mix in government high-office? According to Santiago, that should be the aim…
“Numerically, half of our high government officials should be women, and half should be men. And yet the division between the sexes is highly disproportionate in favor of men. In the Philippine Senate, in the 16th Congress, of 24 senators, only six of us are women,” she said.
If I were a woman, I’d feel monumentally insulted. This sort of talk is implying that a woman’s qualifications and abilities will have nothing to do with her prospects of becoming President or a Philippine senator and will, instead, be dependent on the success of this moronic appeal to peoples’ nebulous notion of what “gender equality” is all about.
Santiago’s other assertions along these lines utterly fail the So What? Test and give the cause of “gender equality” a bad name.
[Santiago] said the [Civil Service Commission] found in 2011 that women occupy only less than one-third of third-level positions in the government; more than one-third in government-owned and -controlled corporations; less than twenty percent in local government units; and more than one-third in the judiciary.
Thus, the proportionate share is 1:2 in favor of men holding top posts in the government, she said.
So what, if more men are in top government and corporate posts than women? Perhaps it did not occur to Santiago that maybe many women, at some point in their careers, opt to prioritise raising their kids over clambering up the bureaucratic or corporate ladder. Just because Margaret Thatcher was a great prime minister does not mean she represents the aspirations of the majority of women.
This ironically male-centric lens from which Santiago presumes to prescribe what women ought to aspire for denigrates the wondrous fact of la différence between the male and female of our species that the French shout Vive! for. Fact is, men and women are different. They think differently, are motivated by different things, and, as such, generally aspire to different things. Just because Filipinos elected an embarrassing representative of Filipino malehood to the presidency in 2010 does not mean men should be demonised.
The irony that flies over Santiago’s head is that gender equality espouses equal opportunity to both sexes — that opportunities should be open to qualified people regardless of their gender. Her conclusions on the observation that women are under-represented in top government and corporate posts can only be valid if it is complemented by statistics on how many women in middle-management posts who are ready to take their career to that next level actually aspire and consciously take steps to do so.
And therein lies that big assumption.
Do women really want to be a Philippine president or senator?
For that matter, should we really care how many female presidents we’ve had and how many female senators are serving this grand republic? More importantly, is it normal for the average woman to aspire to those top offices?
Indeed, it has become fashionable to compliment women who “make it in a man’s world” by describing them as having the “balls” to compete in that world. Think about this for a moment. Women having “balls” (in a figurative sense) is supposedly a good thing. So that’s like saying a woman becoming man-like sets her apart as an exceptional female — implying that being a man is actually an advantage. See how the logic of this flawed variety of “gender equality” activism leads back to the very notion these “activists” are rallying against.
So there are likely other reasons why women are under-represented in the halls of power in government and the executive suites of big corporate. That this is because of some kind of imagined discrimination against them is a big assumption. Filipinos should apply more than the sort of sloppy thinking they are renowned for when regarding the emo appeals of their politicians.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.