Filipinos joined worldwide celebrations of International Women’s Day on Friday by rallying for gender equality.
Thousands of Filipinas took to the streets of the Philippine capital and Baguio City, in the north, where many denounced what they described as President Rodrigo Duterte’s chauvinistic stance toward women. As examples they cited the jailing of a female senator and the ousting of a female supreme court justice during his term.
The female activists skewered the president for sexist rants and remarks, including ones in which he joked about rape and admitted he had once sexually assaulted a maid.
Teresita Deles, a former government official who was among the organizers of Friday’s pro-women rallies, said the activity was the first in recent memory “where women of all political colors” came together to demand an end to Duterte’s alleged misogyny.
“Stop. We are fed up with attacks against our dignity as women,” Deles said. “We are all the more worried because President Duterte is leading this assault.”
The president, however, called Friday for creating a climate and opportunities for empowering women, according to a statement from the presidential palace.
“This important occasion reminds us all to pave the way for an enabling environment for women to be empowered and to make sure that the Magna Carta for Women is properly implemented at all levels in government,” Duterte said in the statement, according to the Philippine Star.