“For every women who takes a step toward her own liberation,
There is a man who finds that the way to freedom has been made a little easier.”
-Excerpt from “For Every Woman” by Nancy Smith
Starting her Orientation on the Use of Gender-Fair Language with a delivery of the poem ”For Every Woman,” Resource Person Dr. La Rainne Abad-Sarmiento sparked the interest of the Tribunal personnel on the issues of Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Fair Language. The orientation held on 19 May 2015 at the Tribunal Session Hall formed part of the quarterly Gender and Development Sensitivity Training (GST++) program of the Tribunal.
After giving an overview of the orientation and setting the expectations of the SET GAD participants, Dr. Abad-Sarmiento discussed the results of the recent SET survey on the level awareness of the participants on Basic GAD Terms and Concepts and GAD Policy Framework. The survey results showed a high awareness rating of 7.3 (out of 10), an indication of the effectiveness of the Tribunal’s past GAD activities, consisting of lectures-fora, immersions and field exposures.
Dr. Abad-Sarmiento presented the mandate and rationale on the use of Gender-Fair Language – Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular (CSC MC) No. 12, Series of 2005, entitled “Use of Non-Sexist Language in All Official Documents, Communications and Issuances.” CSC MC No. 12, s. 2005 states: “In line with the government’s efforts to integrate women’s concerns in its plans and programs through the years, the Civil Service Commission continuously undertakes gender mainstreaming activities, taking extra efforts in promoting gender-sensitivity in the bureaucracy. Beginning June 2000, gender and development (GAD) perspectives have been integrated in the conduct of civil service examinations partly through the use of non-sexist language in the last items. This has led to the Commission’s active campaign on the use of gender-fair language. Language is a very essential tool in communication. It articulates consciousness, reflects culture, and affects socialization. Hence, the need to recognize the importance of transforming language from traditional usage to a more liberating one, that which is gender-sensitive. Since government employees and officials encounter gender issues everyday, the use of non-sexist language in preparing letters, memoranda, and other issuances, will encourage them to make a conscious effort to avoid implicit and explicit discriminatory language against women or men. This, in turn, will help promote gender-sensitivity in the bureaucracy.”
Toward this end, the SET participants were given different Exercises on the Use of Gender-Fair Language and shown a short documentary film on the traditional and stereotypical travails of women in marriages. These activities were followed by a Review and Leveling Off on Manifestations of Gender-Bias as well as a Review of Gender Mainstreaming. In all these activities, the SET participants actively and strongly expressed their views and perspectives on the different GAD concepts, with special emphasis and suggestions on how to use non-sexist language. Among the suggestions given were: eliminate the generic use of HE, HIS or HIM, unless the antecedent is obviously male, by using plural nouns, or deleting HE, HIS and HIM altogether, by rewording, if necessary; eliminate the generic use of MAN by using PEOPLE, PERSON(S), HUMAN(S), HUMAN BEING(S), HUMANKIND, HUMANITY, THE HUMAN RACE.
The orientation was capped by a Personal Commitment-Setting for Gender Equality among the participants. The orientation was coordinated by GAD Advocacy Volunteers, Angelina L. Gabat, OIC, Accounting Service, and Eliza V. Amparo, Supervising Legislative Staff Officer III, Finance and Budget Service, and managed/facilitated by the GAD-TWG Chairperson Nancy G. Cañete, Acting Director, Office of the Secretary, and Member Jose Narico G. Catindig, Supervising Legislative Staff Officer II, Accounting Service and GAD-TWG Secretariat Chairperson Melinda A. Item, Supervising Legislative Staff Office II, Procurement and Property Management Service and Ma. Cel-Sa S. Palomar, Legislative Staff Officer V, Legal Service.