March 22, 2022— Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones highlighted education as a key element in breaking gender barriers and providing equal opportunities for women during DepEd’s International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 celebration program.

“Education will teach us to remember what women have always been, an equal member of our society. Education will always teach us that gender barriers, gender gaps, and gender biases should not have a place in our society,” Secretary Briones said during the Department’s IWD celebration program.

Bureau of Human Resources and Organizational Development Director Anne Rachel C. Miguel echoed Secretary Briones as she discussed the role of women during the pandemic and in a post-pandemic world.

“Women have been serving in the frontlines during the onslaught of COVID-19, and what happens next would not be more different than that. Education is key in ensuring that women will thrive in a post-pandemic world,” Dir. Miguel shared.

Spearheaded by the International Cooperation Office in collaboration with the United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the program also featured women at the forefront of advancing women’s rights worldwide.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Chief Executive for the Ministry for Women, New Zealand Renee Graham, tackled providing adequate and equal opportunities to girls and women.

“Gender education starting from schools can help society break free from gender biases, close gender pay gaps, avoid workplace segregation, promote inclusion, and provide economic empowerment to women,” Graham said.

Meanwhile, OIC of the UN Women Regional Office for Asia-Pacific Sarah Knibbs underscored the role of empowering women through education as one of the keys to solving the climate crisis. She noted that adopting a more comprehensive curriculum that includes gender equality, climate impacts, and resilience can shift the entire perspective on numerous pressing issues.

“This year’s theme for the International Women’s Day puts a spotlight on the importance of ensuring women and girls are centered in all our efforts to promote positive change for a sustainable future for all,” Knibbs said.

UNESCO Assistant Director-General Stefania Giannini also urged governments to build bridges with the education sector, especially learners, to advance their rights and empowerment in the classroom and beyond.

“We have been working hand-in-hand with governments, civil societies, the international community, to galvanize action in support of the creation of a resilient gender-responsive education system that leaves no girl or no boy behind,” Giannini remarked.

The celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day was in a hybrid format. The physical celebration was held at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, Rizal Building inside the Department of Education Central Office located at Meralco Avenue, Pasig City, where it was attended by Chairperson Sandra Montano of the Philippine Commission on Women together with the personnel from the DepEd central office. On the other hand, teachers, students, and other stakeholders attended virtually via Zoom.