PERHAPS it is no coincidence that classes are resuming just some two weeks after we celebrated Mother’s Day. Mothers, as family caretakers, are confronted with multiple burdens such as preparing children to school every day. Mind you, this is no mindless or small task, ask any mother! And this drives home the point. Mothers often bear the brunt of economic hardships, social injustice, poverty, and violence.
Thus as we prepare for the opening of the new school year we can genuinely pay tribute to mothers not only by recognizing their sacrifices as homemaker but also by calling for an end to societal ills that burden all mothers, especially those in the marginalized sectors.
May we not forget all mothers whose families are burdened by lack of employment opportunities and sustainable livelihood, and who are forced to find desperate means to survive the incessant surge of prices of basic commodities and utilities. At the end of 2018, unemployment rate in the women sector stood at 5.2 percent which translated to more than 800,000 jobless women, while underemployment was at 13.4 percent. Lack of opportunities, poverty and relentless price increases compelled mothers to buy cheaper alternatives, consume less and compromise their own health just to sustain their loved ones.
Some are imposed to avail loans that trap them further into poverty.
Also, may we not forget mothers who fell victim to violence against women and are forced to endure the trauma of witnessing their children suffer from physical, emotional and sexual abuses and harassment. In 2018, one in four (26 percent) women experienced spousal and intimate partner violence, while eight in 10 children experienced violence in their lifetime.
The Center for Women’s Resources, a 37-year research and training institution for women, even goes further as to remind us of mothers who lost children and spouses to the war on drugs, crackdown against critics and activists, and human rights violations. More than 30,000 individuals were killed in the drug war. Over 500 individuals fell victim to extrajudicial killings in 2018 – some were farmers, lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous peoples, and church workers, while about 2,000 individuals were illegally arrested and 203 political detainees jailed since July 2016. Their wives and mothers continue to weep while they await the elusive justice.
Despite the pains they have to bear, women have remained steadfast in upholding their rights and fighting for justice. Truly, women, including mothers, hold up half the sky, as their collective power can do wonders and bring about change to the society. To this end, we call on all mother-loving Filipinos to fight for and with their mothers in striving for a safe, peaceful, and sustainable society.