Republic Act 9710: The Magna Carta of Women
The Magna Carta of Women (MCW) is a comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination through the recognition, protection, fulfillment, and promotion of the rights of Filipino women, especially those belonging in the marginalized sectors of the society. It conveys a framework of rights for women based directly on international law.
The Magna Carta of Women establishes the Philippine government’s pledge of commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’s (CEDAW) Committee in its 36th Session in 2006 and to the UN Human Rights Council on its first Universal Periodic Review in 2009. It is the local translation of the provisions of the CEDAW, particularly in defining gender discrimination, state obligations, substantive equality, and temporary special measures. It also recognizes human rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Salient features of the law include:
- Increasing the number of women in third level positions in government to achieve a fifty-fifty (50-50) gender balance within the next five years while the composition of women in all levels of development planning and program implementation will be at least 40 percent;
- Leave benefits of two (2) months with full pay based on gross monthly compensation for women employees who undergo surgery caused by gynecological disorders, provided that they have rendered continuous aggregate employment service of at least six (6) months for the last twelve (12) months;
- Non-discrimination in employment in the field of military, police and other similar services that include according the same promotional privileges and opportunities as their men counterpart, including pay increases, additional benefits, and awards, based on competency and quality of performance.
- Provision for equal access and elimination of discrimination in education, scholarships, and training. Thus, “expulsion, non-readmission, prohibiting enrollment, and other related discrimination of women students and faculty due to pregnancy out of marriage shall be outlawed.
- Non-discriminatory and non-derogatory portrayal of women in media and film to raise the consciousness of the general public in recognizing the dignity of women and the role and contribution of women in family, community, and the society through the strategic use of mass media;
- Equal status given to men and women on the titling of the land and issuance of stewardship contracts and patents.
In addition to guaranteeing substantive rights, the Magna Carta of Women establishes the responsibility of the government to take actions in order to end discrimination against women. It provides that the Philippines government must “ensure the substantive equality of men and women” and mandates the State to take steps to review, amend or repeal existing laws that are discriminatory towards women.
The Government, in its entirety, shall fulfill these duties through the development and implementation of laws, policies, regulatory instruments, administrative guidelines, and other appropriate measures. It shall also establish mechanisms to promote the coherent and integrated implementation of the Magna Carta of Women and other related laws and policies to effectively stop discrimination against Filipino women.
The Magna Carta of Women mandates all government offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units to adopt gender mainstreaming as a strategy for implementing the law and attaining its objectives. It also mandates (a) planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation for gender and development, (b) the creation and/or strengthening of gender and development focal points, and (c) the generation and maintenance of gender statistics and sex-disaggregated databases to aid in planning, programming and policy formulation.